Minnesota Twins place 4 on Baseball America Appalachian League List

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins saw 4 of their prospects recognized by Baseball America on Friday.

The Minnesota Twins had a very successful season in the minor leagues, with the best overall record of any franchise in the major leagues across their minor league system.

The Elizabethton Twins were definitely one of the strongest teams in the league, winning the Appalachian League title at the end of the season, and on Friday, Baseball America recognized the team with 4 players making their top 20 prospects from the level.

The players

#2 – Wander Javier, SS – Javier was the Twins top signee in 2015, and he actually was signed for a bigger signing bonus than Miguel Sano did when he signed, signing for a Twins-record $4 million due to his elite offensive skills and likely ability to stick at shortstop.

After missing much of the 2016 season with an injury to his hamstring, Javier did take a bit to get acclimated this season, but by the end of the season, he was one of the most consistent hitters in the Elizabethton lineup.

#5 – Brent Rooker, OF – Playing primarily outfield and designated hitter with Elizabethton, Rooker was coming off of a season where he dominated the SEC with power and speed. The only question was his eventual defensive position, which caused him to fall to the Twins with their second pick in the draft in the competitive balance round.

Rooker showed an advanced bat that was able to knock out a combined 18 home runs between Elizabethton and high-A Fort Myers in his pro debut. He played more first base with Fort Myers, and he’s shown some ability there that could lead to his future defensive home.

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#7 – Akil Baddoo, OF – A guy with a ton of tools like Baddoo coming out of high school is frequently expected to have a long development path. Instead, he showed an immediate impact ability to recognize the strike zone, and his tools in the outfield allowed him to play elite defense, though his arm will likely force him to either center or left long-term.

Baddoo took another step forward this season as he posted a .478 on base percentage with Elizabethton, and he has shown power and speed that could translate to a 20/20 sort of guy down the road, and he could already hit full-season ball next season.

#17 – Andrew Bechtold, 3B – Bechtold was a surprising selection in the 5th round of the 2017 draft in that he had talent that was discussed as a possible pick in the second round of the draft, so to get him in the 5th was a huge steal for the Twins, and he’s shown it already.

Bechtold came from a loaded Chipola team that won the Junior College World Series, and his balance of skills allow him to offer both power and speed at an above-average level. Bechtold’s a sure third baseman going forward with high-level defensive skills, and his plate discipline should allow him to move quickly through the system.

Next: Preview of Twins Free Agents

Not eligible

Listed as not being eligible in Baseball America’s article (subscription required), Brusdar Graterol was the only such player mentioned, which means really 5 players were noted on the list. Graterol opened the season with the Gulf Coast League team after having arm work done, but the fireballer was noted for his excellence as the only player mentioned as not qualifying by BA. Graterol has a fastball that can touch the upper 90s along with excellent feel for his secondary stuff. He very well may open 2018 with Cedar Rapids, though the Twins will likely manage his innings carefully as he is a very special arm.