Scouting Report on Minnesota Twins SS Jermaine Palacios

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ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 16: Major league baseballs sit in a glove as the Seattle Mariners warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 16, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 16: Major league baseballs sit in a glove as the Seattle Mariners warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 16, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins have developed a depth of shortstops in the farm system. Jermaine Palacios has stepped forward with his play in 2017. Is he a legit star prospect?

Player Profile

The Minnesota Twins signed Jermaine Manuel (Leon) Palacios in September of 2013.

Palacios went to the Dominican Summer League in 2014 to open his professional career. He hit .270/.404/.399 with 11 doubles, 6 triples, and 14 stolen bases. He posted a 35/37 BB/K over 225 plate appearances.

In 2015, Palacios came stateside, and typically, most players spend a full season in the GCL. Palacios barely spent a full MONTH in GCL, opening with the GCL Twins in June 22nd, and moving up to Elizabethton on July 31st. Overall, he hit .370/.398/.540 with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs, and 9 stolen bases. He posted a 12/31 BB/K ratio over 251 plate appearances.

Palacios struggled through an injury-plagued season in 2016 with low-A Cedar Rapids, playing only 71 games, hitting .222/.276/.287 with 8 doubles, 3 triples, and a home run, stealing 3 bases. He also posted a 18/39 BB/K ratio over 288 plate appearances.

In 2017, Palacios is healthy and dominating. He opened with Cedar Rapids, and he moved up after 62 games to high-A Fort Myers in the Florida State League. Combined on the season, he’s hit .318/.356/.503 with 18 doubles, 8 triples, 12 home runs, and 15 stolen bases. He’s posted a 16/74 BB/K ratio over 407 plate appearances.

Scouting Report

Size/Build

Palacios is listed at 6′ and 145 pounds. He may be a hair taller and has filled out some, but he is still quite light, and it would not surprise me at all if his weight was in the 150s.

Hitting

Contact (50) – Palacios has exceptionally quick wrists that pull the bat through the zone with tremendous speed. He doesn’t have a lot of load, but his bat path can often waver through the zone. This allows him to be aggressive at the plate because his wrists allow him to correct if he’s missed a pitch or guessed wrong and still often slap the ball the other way. However, the pure path of his bat being inconsistent could lead to issues with strong breaking pitches down the road.

Power (45) – While he has extremely quick wrists, Palacios is not a guy who has natural build nor strength to hit the ball over the fence frequently. He does, however, have an excellent line drive stroke that sprays the ball to the gaps currently and could develop to 10ish home run power at full physical development.

Eye (45) – Palacios has a average to above-average zone recognition skills, but his pitch recognition skills are below average at this point, and while he does have excellent bat speed, he can often get fooled by good breaking pitches at this point, though at his age that is not entirely surprising, and it is certainly something that he could bring up to at least a 50-55 grade.

Base Running/Fielding

Speed (55) – While Palacios has very good top end speed, he takes a few steps to get to top speed, which will likely mean that he’s not a great base stealer over the course of his career, percentage-wise (he’s 15/26 this season, or a 58% success rate). He does well getting up to top end speed when running from 1st to 3rd on the bases or multiple bases at a time.

Defense (55) – There were originally concerns about whether Palacios could handle shortstop due to his lack of first-step quickness, but he has done very well working hard to develop his instincts at the position to allow him to maximize his ability to use the rest of his skills, including solid glove work and long limbs that can reach balls in the hole when he gets a good jump on the ball.

Arm (60) – Palacios originally played third base due to the strength of his arm. He has a legit plus arm, and he has done well in the improvements in his positioning and his footwork in getting himself into excellent throwing position with his arm to improve his accuracy.

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MLB Player Comp

In stature and swing, Palacios reminds me a ton of Didi Gregorius. Gregorius has enjoyed the cozy confines of his home park the last few years to hit 20 home runs in 2016 and 15 already in 2017, and that’s not something I see Palacios doing without some added strength, but the two do have similar builds and defensive/offensive skill sets.

Gregorius is a very good offensive comp with his speed, power, and contact skills all being good comps. Obviously, Gregorius has developed into an elite defender as well, and Palacios would have to keep improving to get on par there.

Next: Trade rumor profile: Hector Neris

Most likely Palacios won’t be making another step up this year as he’s hit well in his promotion to high-A (.314/.344/.413), but his strikeout rate has gone from 16.7% to 21.4% in the promotion, so he has some work to do in that area in his promotion.

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