No. 9 Wander Javier, SS, Elizabethton
Nate’s Rank: 8, Gary’s Rank: 10
The 19-year-old Wander Javier may be the prospect we know the least about among this top crop of Twins prospects. The Twins signed Javier out of the Dominican Republic for a franchise record $4 million signing bonus as a 16-year-old. That alone should speak to the level of talent and baseball ability the Twins saw from the young shortstop who cracked Baseball America’s Top-100 list entering the season.
What has been unfortunate is due to 1) being young and 2) injuries, we just have not seen a whole lot of Javier on the baseball diamond. In 2017, Javier spent the season with the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League where he played in 41 games and had 180 plate appearances. Over that period of time, he hit .299/.383/.471 and had a .855 OPS. He struck out at a high rate (49 strikeouts to 19 walks) but that may have been because he was refining something in his approach at the plate as he worked with hitting coach Jeff Reed.
2018 was supposed to be Javier’s first full season of professional ball. A season where we could have seen Javier potentially with the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels. Imagine the prospect line up that team would have had if Javier hadn’t torn his labrum and had to have shoulder surgery. The injury ended his season before it started and now he is in the middle of a six to nine month recovery and will hopefully be ready for spring training.
One of the biggest questions for Javier is whether or not he will be able to stick as a shortstop as he climbs the minor league ladder. In his most recent baseball action, he was still holding his own at the shortstop position defensively. Thankfully, not unlike Jeffers, there is no question whether or not his bat will be good enough at other positions. Javier’s ability to hit continues to be his best tool as he utilizes the ability to make contact regularly and combines that with his great bat speed. Javier is certainly a player to keep an eye on.