Edouard Julien, 2B
Julien's ascension this offseason has been wild to watch. He was already a fast rising prospect in the Twins farm system, but he was added to the 40-man roster over the winter in a move that seems to signal his Big League debut might be in the near future.
Since Julien is on the 40-man roster, he'll be in Fort Myers this spring and the Twins will get their first good look at what he can offer. The team already knows he offers a ton, as he slashed .300/.441/.490 and 17 home runs at Double-A Wichita last season. That's up from a .267 average, with 144 strikeouts and a 28 percent strikeout rate the year before.
Not only did Julien take a step forward year-over-year, but his ability to adjust his game the way he did is a good sign that he'll be able to handle Major League pitching and adjust his game further.
He's also fresh off dominating the Arizona Fall League where he won Breakout Player of the Year. His performance there is what prompted the Twins to add him to the 40-man roster in November.
Barring something massive happening -- none of which would be good -- Julien will start the year in the minors. He may not stay there long, though, as the Twins have already stated that he could be a part of the team's plans as soon as this upcoming season.
“He took major steps forward,” Derek Falvey, Minnesota’s President of Baseball Operations said of Julien back in the fall. “He’s always been a pretty good hitter. We knew that he had good plate discipline — he knows the strike zone and will take his walks — and this year he learned how to get his bat to the ball more efficiently, and more consistently.”
An impressive Spring Training can go a long way in convincing the front office that he should be one of the next men up and he could be playing meaningful innings for the Twins late in the summer as they try to make it back to the Postseason.