The Minnesota Twins enter 2023 facing some major questions. After falling apart to end 2022, the team was left to pick up the pieces and start focusing towards next season. While the roster has some good pieces, there are some big needs for the team to address before Opening Day.
While a lot of this can be helped out with a return to health and free agent/trade additions, the team will also need some help from top minor league options, especially where depth is concerned.
While guys like Matt Wallner, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Louie Varland are expected to make big contributions, a more underrated name could make a big impact in 2023: second baseman Edouard Julien.
Is Eduardo Julien for real, and can he help the Minnesota Twins in 2023?
Drafted by the Twins in the 18th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Julien slipped on draft day due to his slight dip in production during his sophomore season at Auburn and his perceived lack of any elite skills and defensive issues. Upon joining the organization, Julien had to sit out the 2020 season due to COVID, but his skills flourished working with pro coaches.
In 2021, Julien posted a very strong .267/.434/.480 slash line with 18 homers, 72 RBI, and 34 steals between A and A+, bursting onto the scene and joining many top prospect lists remarkably quickly. Even more impressive was his 110 walks, leading all of the MiLB and posting one of the highest marks the Minnesota Twins organization had ever seen.
Sure, he struck out even more (144 strikeouts in 113 games), and his defense was brutal, but the Twins clearly could see there was some legitimate talent in the 21-year-old. The new question became: how would he back it up in 2022?
Well, the results at AA this season have been even more encouraging. He boosted his stat line even further, posting a .300/.441/.490 slashline, 17 homers, 67 RBI, and 19 steals, and while his walks dipped down to a still impressive 98, his strikeouts dropped as well, falling to 125 (in 113 games).
While his defense is still a work in progress, his fielding percentage and other defensive metrics improved greatly. While he can help the Twins at first base, he seems to have gotten far more comfortable at his more natural position of second base. If these positive trends continue, the Twins might even turn him into a legitimately solid defender.
After two great seasons, Julien was honored with a trip to the Arizona Fall League to further display his skills among some of the game’s best prospects. The results there have been even more encouraging, as he has put up a .364/.544/.636 slashline with 2 HR, 6 RBI, and 13(!!!) walks in 10 games while showing off with another top Twins prospect:
The Minnesota Twins need offense from just about anyone who can produce next season, and when injuries inevitably hit, they need to be better prepared with depth. After his second consecutive impressive season, he could be just the guy to do it.
Julien will assuredly start the season at Triple-A, but the 24-year-old has clearly shown he has the ability to produce offensively. If he can put up similar numbers to Royce Lewis and force his way onto the MLB roster, the team will be all the better for it. Even if he doesn’t do it right away (due to defensive struggles), Julien seems to be for real, which is very exciting for 2023 and beyond.