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Game Thread: Twins vs Mets, 7/16/19, 7:10 PM CT

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Twins Daily 2019 Top Prospects: #10 Akil Baddoo

The lower levels of the minor leagues are littered with speedy center fielders who have no idea how to play baseball. Elite athletes who have absolutely no clue what they’re doing in the batter’s box.

And then you have Akil Baddoo. Guys like this aren’t supposed to know the strike zone like he does.
10. Akil Baddoo, CF
Age: 20 (DOB (8/16/98)
2018 Stats (-A): 517 PA, .243/.351/.419, 11 HR, 40 RBI
ETA: 2021
2018 Ranking: 10

What’s to like?
This guy’s not just an athlete. Baddoo has a career .367 on-base percentage and an even more impressive walk rate of 14.4 percent. Only 10 qualified MLB hitters walked more often in 2018.

Baddoo’s also not just a strict pull hitter, another common issue among lower-level prospects. That should keep opposing teams from employing any extreme shifts against him. Here’s a look at his spray chart:
Attached Image: BaddooSpray.png
Most of his home run power is right down the line, but you can see plenty of extra-base hits going to the left of center field.

Through the first two months of last season, Baddoo posted a .396 OBP, but that came with a very weak .336 slugging percentage. From that point forward, we started to see him punish pitches on a more regular basis. His OBP was only .329 through the rest of the season, but that came with an impressive .454 slugging percentage. So I think it’s fair to say he’s both shown excellent on-base skills and some nice pop.

Is there a way he can balance out those two approaches, or even better yet, manage to maintain the best of both worlds? That’s the part that’s really exciting about Baddoo. He’s shown flashes of so many different skills.

But let’s get back to that athleticism. Baddoo led the Midwest League with 11 triples last season and has a stolen base success rate over 80 percent for his career (41-for-51). The speed is real.

There’s a lot to like.

What’s left to work on?
Surprise, surprise, he needs to get better against left-handed pitching. Real original, Akil. After handling southpaws to the tune of an .840 OPS in 2017, Baddoo hit just .220/.304/.339 (.643 OPS) against same-sided pitching this past season. Of his 17 career home runs, all but one of them have come against right-handed pitchers.

What else? Baddoo would also benefit from cutting down on his strikeouts. Being comfortable working deep counts is great, but his strikeout rate of 24 percent last season is just a little too high. If anything, that rate figures to rise as he climbs the ladder, so Baddoo may benefit from being a bit more aggressive early in the count from time-to-time. He could also use some refinement in the field.

What’s next?
After spending the entire 2018 season with Cedar Rapids, Baddoo figures to spend plenty of his time in Fort Myers this year. Not only does the competition become more advanced, but the Florida State League is also a notorious pitcher’s environment. It should serve for a great measuring stick for Baddoo.

This is the second straight year Baddoo has slotted 10th in our rankings. With this upcoming season serving as somewhat of a make or break year in terms of his prospect stock, he could shoot up the list or he could drop down, but I’d bet against a three-peat in the 10 spot.

Twins Daily 2019 Top 20 Prospects
Honorable Mentions
20. Jose Miranda
19. Jorge Alcala
18. LaMonte Wade
17. Zack Littell
16. Gilberto Celestino
15. Yunior Severino
14. Ben Rortvedt
13. Ryan Jeffers
12. Nick Gordon
11. Stephen Gonsalves
10. Akil Baddoo
9. Coming Soon

Get to know more about these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback or as an eBook.

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41 Comments

One of my favorite guys. Really hope he has a big year for us.

    • Dman, nytwinsfan, David HK and 3 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Feb 04 2019 06:27 AM
"He could also use some refinement in the field." I did find this sentence a bit surprising. It seems curious to me that Baddoo isn't a strong fielder. I assume the range is more than adequate. What does he need to improve in the field? Also, did Baddoo grow up playing baseball or was it a Kepler type situation where he has some catching up to do time wise simply being on a baseball field?
    • nytwinsfan likes this

Make or break year, in any sense, at age 20? Probably not.

    • Mike Sixel, caninatl04, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this
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birdwatcher
Feb 04 2019 07:46 AM

How does he pronounce his name?

    • etwinsfan and Doctor Wu like this
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clutterheart
Feb 04 2019 07:54 AM

Baddoo's jump in K's was suprising. 

 

Does any site keep swinging strikes vs looking strikes on batters? Id be interested to know if he is watching strikes cross the zone.  

    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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MMMordabito
Feb 04 2019 08:24 AM
Baddoo has big league leadoff hitter written all over him. Hope he stays healthy and keeps making the adjustments required at each step. FSL will be a great challenge.
    • Dman, SF Twins Fan and caninatl04 like this

My gut tells me I would rank him lower than 10.Then after looking at #11-#20, the only player I would move ahead of him is Rortvedt.Will be interesting to see how he does in 2019, although we could say that about the entire Top 20++++++.

    • gunnarthor likes this

I only know him from the reports I read on this site, but what has been written about him last year makes it a surprise to have him as high as 10 - I would have seen Jeffers ranked above him.

 

Baddoo's jump in K's was suprising. 

 

Does any site keep swinging strikes vs looking strikes on batters? Id be interested to know if he is watching strikes cross the zone.  

 

http://www.statcorne...t.php?id=668731

 

Yes, he was K'd looking more often than league average but actually K'd swinging slightly less than league average.

 

Also worth noting that his K rate in April and May was 32%, but he seems to have made some pretty big adjustments and his K rate was at 20% for the rest of the season.Not sure how his looking/swinging splits might have changed between those periods.

    • birdwatcher, beckmt, Dance with Disco Dan and 5 others like this

 

How does he pronounce his name?

I can't help you on the pronunciation, but I think he has one of very best names in baseball!

    • birdwatcher and MN_ExPat like this

The rankings:

 

Seth (9), Nick (11), Tom (10), Cody (10). 

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

"He could also use some refinement in the field." I did find this sentence a bit surprising. It seems curious to me that Baddoo isn't a strong fielder. I assume the range is more than adequate. What does he need to improve in the field? Also, did Baddoo grow up playing baseball or was it a Kepler type situation where he has some catching up to do time wise simply being on a baseball field?

 

I've been told that the one question mark on him as a prospect at the draft was his arm, but he has really worked and improved that. Great range, pretty good instincts. 

 

He grew up playing a lot of baseball.

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

How does he pronounce his name?

 

Uh-Kill. 

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Tom Froemming
Feb 04 2019 09:52 AM

 

"He could also use some refinement in the field." I did find this sentence a bit surprising. It seems curious to me that Baddoo isn't a strong fielder. I assume the range is more than adequate. What does he need to improve in the field? Also, did Baddoo grow up playing baseball or was it a Kepler type situation where he has some catching up to do time wise simply being on a baseball field?

As Seth mentioned, throws are still not anything to hang his hat on. I've also seen him take some not so efficient routes or first steps out there. Nothing to be too concerned about, but stuff like that might result in him being pushed to left field as he moves up and starts playing alongside better outfielders.

 

 

Make or break year, in any sense, at age 20? Probably not.

*In terms of prospect status. Take a look at some of the guys who were going from Cedar Rapids to Fort Myers last year and what happened to them, guys like Lewin Diaz and Travis Blankenhorn. I think a lot of things can get exposed in this jump that Baddoo's about to make, pitchers in the FSL are a lot more advanced than in the MWL.

 

 

    • birdwatcher, bluechipper, gagu and 1 other like this

In many cases I think the Twins should "rush" their prospects quicker through the minors as part of the rebuilding process.

 

But, that view isn't a blanket across every prospect.I think players like Baddoo should be moved slower because the baseball skills are not as fully developed as the athletic skills.The OBP - SLG trade off is one symptom of this claim.Give the kid time tof figure it out a bit in the minors and he might be able to combine the two.  

 

At the same time, I think the minor league competition can develop bad habits that you can get away with against lower competition but becomes apparent in the big leagues.So, moving a guy like him up the ladder one step at a time makes sense.

    • Mike Sixel, DocBauer, gagu and 1 other like this
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birdwatcher
Feb 04 2019 11:24 AM

 

Uh-Kill. 

 

 

Huh. His last name is silent?

    • scottz, Twins33, Danchat and 2 others like this
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Twinsoholic
Feb 04 2019 11:32 AM

I know he projects well as an outfielder, but Baddoo has yet to play high A ball. I would have Miranda higher than Baddoo (I am surprised that Wade, Littell, and Rortvedt are also ahead of Miranda).

Make or break year, in any sense, at age 20? Probably not.

 

*In terms of prospect status. Take a look at some of the guys who were going from Cedar Rapids to Fort Myers last year and what happened to them, guys like Lewin Diaz and Travis Blankenhorn. I think a lot of things can get exposed in this jump that Baddoo's about to make, pitchers in the FSL are a lot more advanced than in the MWL.

No, I understood your meaning, which is why I threw in the "in any sense", though maybe that was too cryptic. But a bad year at 19 or 18 can send a prospect shooting downward in the prospect ranks too. Moreover, say Baddoo has a bad year at 20 and drops out of sight in anybody's rankings. He repeats high-A at 21, kicks butt, gets promoted to AA in July and kicks butt there too, and guess what? At 22, he's back on the prospect rankings, possibly higher in the rankings since he's then closer to MLB-ready.

 

A bad 2019 would be, well, bad of course.I just thought the terminology was a little dire at this age.

 

Huh. His last name is silent?

Like all the great, he goes by just one name

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, IndianaTwin and 1 other like this

One thing you cannot teach is OBP, and the walk rate.I am very excited about this.Twins have far too many swing and miss guys up higher that chase.

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, Twins33 and 1 other like this

 

http://www.statcorne...t.php?id=668731

 

Yes, he was K'd looking more often than league average but actually K'd swinging slightly less than league average.

 

Also worth noting that his K rate in April and May was 32%, but he seems to have made some pretty big adjustments and his K rate was at 20% for the rest of the season.Not sure how his looking/swinging splits might have changed between those periods.

 

All I have to offer is from observation, but I did see a lot of his PAs last season.

 

I'm obviously biased because I really like this guy, but I felt like he did get rung up a lot and in many cases, it looked like those called third strikes were not in the zone. It's quite possible that his strike zone awareness was better than the plate umpire's.

 

If you think Class A hitters have a lot of work to do to learn the strike zone, it's just as clear that many of those Midwest League umpires need just as much work, if not more, in that area.

 

Akil also obviously earned a reputation as a patient hitter across the league, including with the umpires. I felt there were times when the guy behind the plate was almost looking to ring him up on anything close because he was so patient as a hitter.

 

To his credit, I felt that Akil made adjustments later in the season and didn't always let that borderline pitch go by with 2 strikes on him like he did much of the year. Of course, you can make an argument either way as to whether that's a good thing or not. Your success rate swinging at pitches not in the zone with 2 strikes on you isn't going to be real high.

 

There's a lot of potential in that package and I'm anxious to see how he does in the FSL this season.

    • Carole Keller, birdwatcher, Mike Sixel and 12 others like this
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birdwatcher
Feb 04 2019 01:15 PM

 

Like all the great, he goes by just one name

 

 

If I'm his agent, he changes it from Uh Kill to Killa. And networks with G Cinco pronto.

    • Twins33 and KGB like this

 

Huh. His last name is silent?

 

Bah-Doo

 

I know he projects well as an outfielder, but Baddoo has yet to play high A ball. I would have Miranda higher than Baddoo (I am surprised that Wade, Littell, and Rortvedt are also ahead of Miranda).

 

Miranda got about 2-3 weeks of High-A ball, so the distinction between the two is negligible. They were even drafted one pick apart. I really like Miranda as well. Huge power potential. Baddoo is probably a big more well-rounded, in terms of potential. 

    • SD Buhr, DocBauer, gagu and 1 other like this

 

 

If I'm his agent, he changes it from Uh Kill to Killa. And networks with G Cinco pronto.

 

My wife believes he should change his first name to "Skoob" 

Think about it.

 

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, Danchat and 3 others like this

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