Puckett’s Pond presents our Top 20 Minnesota Twins prospects. At #17 is Jermaine Palacios
Jermaine Palacios was nearly unheard of before 2015 and now he’s among Minnesota’s most exciting talents. He’s jumped at least 20 spots on the Twins’ prospect list between this time last year and now. He is one of the Twins’ best hitting prospects—he has been tearing the cover off of baseballs in Rookie Ball. Can he continue to do so in A ball this upcoming season? While his bat impresses, his defence leaves something to be desired.
Name: Jermaine Palacios
Position: SS/3B Age: 19
Height: 6’0” Age: 145 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent in 2013
The Minnesota Twins signed Jermaine Palacios at age 17 out of Venezuela in September of 2013. Palacios was assigned to the Dominican Summer League Twins for the 2014 season. He mostly played third base but also saw time at second and short. He slashed .270/.404/.399 and stole 14 bases (3 caught) over 225 plate appearances. He had a .925 fielding % at 3B that year.
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Palacios made the move to the U.S in 2015 being assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins. With the geographical move also came a transition on the diamond. He was to play almost exclusively at short after primarily playing 3rd the previous season. Palacios spent just 26 games with the GCL Twins after destroying opposing pitchers to the tune of a .421/.472/.589 slash. He also showed improvement defensively with a .960 fielding %.
Due to his offensive dominance, the Twins promoted him to Elizabethton. Appalachian league pitchers were able to slow him down somewhat but he still posted a .336/.345/.507 line. Palacios carried over his success at the plate but he struggled defensively making 16 errors and putting up a .889 fielding %.
Palacios is rangy with good speed and athleticism. He won’t be a slugger but he should be able to develop some more power as he matures. His fielding has been uneven so far but he’s shown glimpses of being able to handle shortstop. His bat is his greatest weapon and he’s displayed excellent plate discipline over his first two seasons. He sprays the ball to all fields.
Palacios will likely be assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels for 2016. The Minnesota Twins will be looking to see how he fares over a longer season offensively and will be trying to determine whether he fits at shortstop long term. At this point the only factor holding him back from accelerating through the minors and rapidly climbing the Top Prospect list is his defensive game. But Palacios is still a very young man and has plenty of time to acquire more skills and be taught the nuances of fielding. 2016 will be crucial in telling us what kind of player Palacios truly can be.