Though it may seem like October is probably a time to take it easy on the prospect hunting, to me, it’s one of my favorite months. Fresh off of a full season of baseball (and sometimes Arizona Fall League play), there’s a ton of recency bias that we can exploit. At the same time, October is still about 3-4 months away from the slew of Top 100 prospect rankings that artificially inflate/deflate values.
In today’s post, I’m highlighting one guy that won’t appear on any top 100 list in spring, but has the helium potential to appear there as early as midseason 2018.
Akil Baddoo, OF (MIN)
The Twins drafted Akil Baddoo 74th overall in 2016 and the hidden talent he possesses can be immense. He struggled last year in his first taste of pro ball in the Gulf Coast League (rookie ball) as a 17 year old, which is to be expected. In his second go-around this year, a span of 86 PA, he showed significant improvement with an .800 OPS, .173 ISO, 4 SB, and most impressively, just 13 K to 9 BB.
The Twins were so impressed they bumped him to the Appalachian League, an advanced rookie ball league. What’d he do there? How about a .357/.478/.579 slash line, a 19:27(!) K/BB, 3 HR, 5 SB in 157 PA en route to helping Elizabethton become league champions. Remember he was 18 for the majority of the season.
Baddoo stands at 5 foot 11, but reports are he’s had a bit of a growth spurt this year which bodes well for developing more power (at the cost of losing some speed). As of now, Baddoo has 70-grade speed and plays CF, though some think he’ll shift to LF because of a below average arm. He’s aggressive at the plate, but as the Ks and BB show, it’s a selective aggressiveness that we like. Before the season, Fangraphs prospect writer Eric Longenhagen slapped a future 50-hit tool on him, but I’m willing to increase it even more based on his overall 2017 performance.
So let’s recap: We have a freshly minted 19 year old who has incredible plate discipline, can affect the game on the basepaths, plays center (for now) and is often a top three player on his team. That’s all-star material. If he can develop more power (right now he projects as a 10 HR guy), he’s easy top 50 material, let alone top 100, with upside for more.
His lead time is significant. I wouldn’t expect him to debut before 2021. But I’ll be damned if he’s not showing flashes to prove he’s worth the wait.
What Should You Do?
If you roster:
150 or fewer prospects: Keep a close eye on him next year. If he starts in full-season ball and performs well, he might be worth snagging in May/June.
200-250 prospects: Take a flier if you have someone on your farm who’s stagnated or don’t think will be worth much in offseason trades.
300 or more: Run to grab this lottery ticket.