Minnesota Twins 2017 Minor League Awards
Yeltsin Encarnacion, 19, DSL
No, the video is not Encarnacion. Finding video or a picture of Yeltsin has proved to be near impossible!
Not really a well-known or highly-ranked prospect when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic, Encarnacion is in his third season with the DSL, and he really took a significant step forward this season.
Originally a shortstop, and blessed with an impressive arm, Encarnacion even made an appearance on the mound in 2017, and he looked at home at third base this season, though he did spend quite a bit of time at second base as well.
Encarnacion could have had his career year this year, or he might have filled in to the point where he’s ready to break out as a prospect and come to the U.S. in 2018 to show his impressive ability.
On the year, Encarnacion hit .318/.408/.523 with 9 doubles, 8 triples, 2 home runs, and 6 stolen bases. He also had 22 walks and 20 stolen bases.
Others of note: Chris Paul, 24, Fort Myers/GCL; Andrew Bechtold, 21, Elizabethton; Wander Valdez, 17, DSL; Travis Blankenhorn, 20, Cedar Rapids; T.J. White, 25, Chattanooga
This was a very deep crop of performers this season. Paul was having a tremendous year before breaking his hamate bone and missing a huge chunk of the season. Blankenhorn struggled out of the gate, but by the end of the season, he had rebounded such that he had double digit doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases. Bechtold could be a very impressive find from the 2017 draft class out of community college.