Puckett’s Pond’s Minnesota Twins 2018 Top-40 Prospects: #11-15

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BOSTON, MA - JULY 28: A Minnesota Twins ballbag on the field before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 28, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 28: A Minnesota Twins ballbag on the field before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 28, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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No. 11 Akil Baddoo, CF, Cedar Rapids Kernels

 Nate’s Rank: 14,  Gary’s Rank: 8

20-year-old Akil Baddoo was drafted by the Twins in the second round lottery segment of the 2016 draft with the 76th pick, just after our 26th rated prospect, Jose Miranda. The Georgia high schooler had pre-draft rankings of #54 by Baseball America, and #72 by MLB.com. He signed for an under-slot bonus of $750,000.

Assigned to the GCL Twins in 2016, the 17-year-old Baddoo struggled in 170 at-bats hitting .178. The 2017 campaign went better, as Baddoo hit .267. with a .800 OPS in 75 at-bats before being moved to Rookie League Elizabethton in July to face more experienced competition. It was with the E-Twins that the lefty really found his groove. He produced a slash line of .357/.478/.579, with an OPS of 1.057 in 127 at-bats, scoring 39 runs, while drawing 27 walks and only 18 strikeouts. That performance shot his prospects up the charts entering 2018.

John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall ranked Baddoo #10 on the Twins prospect list with a grade of B-

"Excellent plate discipline/feel for hitting and a potential on-base machine, also runs well and could develop good power; if you want to dream on his ultimate upside, think of a cross between Matt Lawton and Tony Gwynn; I love Baddoo’s upside and if he performs well in full-season ball he’ll rocket up prospect lists in ’18. ETA late 2020"

FanGraphs ranked Baddoo #7, giving the 5′ 11″, 195-pound center fielder a speed rating of 60, with future projections of 50 in both hitting and raw power, and an over future value of 45+.

Their Trey Baughn in his10 Bold Predictions for 2018 included Akil Baddoo is a Top 50 prospect by season’s end. He wrote:

"Baddoo is intriguing because of his speed (above average), his high probability of sticking in center field, and most importantly, for his ability to flat out hit.  At the age of 18 (2017), Baddoo managed a .963 OPS while walking more than he struck out.  That combination of youthful power, speed, and discipline just doesn’t materialize very often"

MLB.com ranked Baddoo #11 in their preseason list and he has dropped to #12 in their midseason revision.

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Playing this season 2.3 years younger than the average Midwest League batter, Baddoo is more than holding his own at Class A Cedar Rapids. While 119 strikeouts are concerning, and his slash line of .242/.353/.423 in 414 at-bats doesn’t particularly stand out, his OPS is .776, and he leads the league with 11 triples, and his 80 runs scored and 72 walks are 3rd and 4th in the circuit, respectively. Add on his 11 home runs, 20 doubles, and 21 steals in 26 attempts and Baddoo stands out as a very productive leadoff hitter in the Kernels lineup.

Baddoo has also struggled with a hamstring issue this season that has resulted in a stint on the disabled list. On defense, his arm is considered below average, but his glove is outstanding, with only one error this season in 165 chances for a .994 fielding percentage.

Next. Mauer cementing himself in baseball history. dark

Having just turned 20 this month, the upside for Akil Baddoo looks bright. The best key to his future success is in developing his hitting tool. A lot of potential to tap into here.

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