Wander Javier, SS, and Yunior Severino, 2B
Baseball America’s monthly magazine contains the American League Central top 10s, and in their top 10 list, Javier ranks #2, which is certainly the highest I’ve seen him anywhere so far. However, it would not surprise if he begins to not just get that kind of notice soon, but if he doesn’t start jumping up in the top 100 conversation very soon, if he’s not already there.
Javier was the Twins’ big money signing in July of 2015 for more money than the team even gave to Miguel Sano when they signed him. Javier has done nothing to detract from that high regard thus far in his pro career.
Just 18 for the entire season, Javier hit .299/.383/.471 with Elizabethton, playing against guys who often were coming out of college and 3-4 years his senior. In an organization that has a lot of depth at the shortstop position with the top two prospects in the organization (via most consensus) both playing the position as well in Gordon and Lewis, Javier is the guy who certainly has the best chance to stick at the position.
Javier has the offensive profile to deliver above-average power in game while he has plus speed and very good instincts as a base runner. He needs more polish as a base stealer, but the Twins won’t worry if he’s not stealing bases if he’s able to utilize his speed to get first to home well.
After Shohei Ohtani signed with the Angels, Twins fans were quite critical of the team, wondering how the team could possibly utilize their financial build up to actually improve the team’s future. Sure enough, they used the financial flexibility they had in the Ohtani bidding to turn around and sign Yunior Severino, for many the best available prospect that was removed from the Braves in their punishment in November.
Severino doesn’t have the profile of fellow 2016 signee Kevin Maitan, but he doesn’t have any reason to be discounted on his ceiling in comparison to Maitan. The Braves spent the third-most on Severino in the 2016 class, and he produced the most of any of that group by far in 2017.
Severino hit .270/.345/.420 with 25 extra base hits in just 48 games. He is likely best fit for second base going forward, and there are many who initially compared him to Robinson Cano when he was signed. When making phone calls this fall, the name that kept being thrown out as a profile is Jeff Kent – excellent power, very steady – albeit not elite – defense. I’m sure Twins fans would be very happy with that profile.
While the team has a number of players currently playing shortstop, the depth at second base is not heavy, and with starter Brian Dozier a free agent after 2018, the Twins could be utilizing young infielders at the position until someone establishes himself as the long-term answer at the position. Severino could be that guy.
Next: Injury return