MLB Pipeline mentioned the players who “just missed” for their top 100 today, and Minnesota Twins shortstop Wander Javier was on the list. Who is he exactly?
The Minnesota Twins have a pair of shortstops who are getting plenty of love on top 100 lists as Royce Lewis and Nick Gordon are ranked on each of the major lists that have come out so far.
However, Baseball America mentioned Wander Javier last week as the #95 overall prospect on their list, and today, MLB Pipeline mentioned Javier in an article on the players who had just missed the top 100 list that they released last Saturday.
Who is Javier, and what should Twins fans expect from him?
Wander Javier, SS
The Minnesota Twins signed Javier to a $4 million bonus as part of the international free agent class of 2015, giving him the highest bonus in the history of the franchise, even surpassing Miguel Sano’s signing bonus when he signed.
Javier struggled with injury in his first professional season in 2016, but when he was on the field, he flashed incredible tools with the Gulf Coast League Twins, hitting .308/.400/.654 in 9 games, with 3 doubles and 2 home runs, and a polished 4/5 BB/K ratio.
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Javier moved up to the advanced rookie level in 2017 with Elizabethton, playing shortstop for the E-Twins. His final line on the season was .299/.383/.471 with 4 home runs and 4 stolen bases and a 19/49 BB/K over 180 plate appearances.
Many mention the strikeout rate or Javier’s 16 errors at shortstop in 36 games at the position when debating whether or not he should be a guy to be considered so highly. However, that’s part of the issue of “stat line scouting”, as Javier did some tremendous work with hitting coach Jeff Reed in his approach throughout the season, and that did lead to a higher strikeout number, but the fact that he was still able to put up an .850+ OPS is a tribute to the incredible talent he has.
Javier is a true possible 5-tool talent. He has a quick bat through the zone that should allow him to hit for a good average. He has some present power already with wiry strength in his lean frame that should certainly blossom as he grows into his frame more.
Javier’s speed is certainly an asset now, and he’s built such that he likely won’t outgrow having his speed be an asset to some level, both on the bases, and in the field, where his glove is quite good, though he can get to so many balls that he struggles with what many young shortstops do in judging which balls to hold onto and which ones to to fire across the infield. His plus arm also gives him a shot to nail guys, which can allow him to trust those throws right now as well.
As Javier builds more into his frame and develops in-game and life maturity, he could be a guy who turns into a top 10 in all of baseball prospect. Minnesota Twins fans should be keeping an eye on him!