From: Las Vegas
On-base machine Edouard Julien could walk his way right into the Twins’ plans
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Edouard Julien might be the most underrated prospect in the Twins farm system. He’s definitely the most fascinating one.
Born in Quebec, the French-Canadian spoke little English when he moved to Alabama at 19 to play for Auburn. Picked in the 18th round of the 2019 draft following a good but not great college career, Julien injured his elbow a month later while playing for Canada in the Pan Am Games and needed Tommy John surgery. And then COVID-19 wiped away the 2020 minor-league season.
Julien finally made his professional debut in 2021, nearly two years after being drafted. It was worth the wait when he hit .267/.434/.480 with 18 homers, 34 steals and an eye-catching 110 walks in 112 games between Low-A Fort Myers and High-A Cedar Rapids, becoming the first Twins prospect with 100 walks in a season since Bobby Kielty two decades earlier.
He moved up to Double A last season, putting his extreme plate discipline to the test against more polished pitchers, and passed with flying colors. Julien hit .300/.441/.490 with 17 homers and 19 steals in 113 games, finishing two walks short of back-to-back 100-walk campaigns. And then he went to the Arizona Fall League and hit .400/.563/.680 to lead the prospect showcase in OPS.
“My god, the kid can hit, man,” Carlos Correa said.
Any scouting report on Julien must start with plate discipline. He led all minor leaguers in walks (208) and on-base percentage (.437) the past two seasons, and that doesn’t even include his AFL-best 23 walks and .563 on-base percentage in 21 games. Julien has walked in 20.4 percent of his pro plate appearances, higher than the career walk rate of every hitter in MLB history except Ted Williams.
Julien’s first Double-A month was mediocre, but he then posted an OBP above .400 in each of the season’s final five months, hitting a combined .310/.454/.511 with 17 homers, 16 steals and 95 walks in 105 games after May 1. Including his AFL stint, Julien hit .384 with a .616 slugging percentage in his final 40 games of 2022, reaching base at a Bondsian .538 clip.
“He’s been better than a good hitter,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s been a guy that’s already made a name for himself. He swings the bat at a level better than most guys you’re going to find, even top prospects. Your bat can carry you in this game, and I like guys that can hit.”