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Edouard Julien: Champ or Chump for Fantasy Baseball?

Edouard Julien - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Prospects, Draft Sleepers

For the second time this season, Edouard Julien has been summoned to MLB by the Minnesota Twins. His first call-up wasn't great, as he currently sports a .219/.286/.406 line with two homers in 36 MLB PAs. However, his MiLB resume, peripheral stats, and prospect pedigree all suggest a guy capable of making a difference in fantasy.

Julien has generally performed well against advanced competition, hitting .400 with more walks than strikeouts in the Arizona Fall League last year and dominating the World Baseball Classic with a .538/.667/.1.154 line in 13 ABs. His minor league numbers suggest an OBP machine that should also hit for a high average, with power potential to boot.

Of course, he also doesn't have a solid defensive position and may not have a long-term hold on a starting job in Minnesota. Let's take a closer look at what Julien might be able to offer in fantasy.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Edouard Julien MiLB Resume

Julien first cracked into the High Minors last season with Double-A (Wichita) and performed well, slashing .308/.441/.490 with 17 HR and 19 SB in 508 PAs. He needed a .393 BABIP to post those numbers, but his underlying peripherals suggest that he will be a plus-BABIP guy at the MLB level too.

First, Julien demonstrated a line drive swing with a 31.3 LD%. He probably won't sustain a LD% that high, but even 25% would be enough to boost his BABIP. Second, Julien rarely lifted the ball with a 25.1 FB%. Fly balls have by far the lowest BABIP of all batted ball types, and Julien helped himself further with a microscopic IFFB% of 4.3. Julien hits to all fields as well, so opposing teams cannot try to invent shifts to reduce his BABIP.

Julien also offers outstanding plate discipline, walking 19.3% of the time at Wichita against a 24.6 K%. Julien didn't swing-and-miss very often with a 7.3 SwStr%, with the slightly elevated strikeout rate the result of getting too patient at times.

The only downside to Julien's Double-A campaign was that it's tough to project immediate power with such a low FB%, but his 24.6% HR/FB suggests the potential was there. The Twins deemed Julien worthy of a promotion to Triple-A (St. Paul) to begin the 2023 season.

The result was more of the same, as Julien slashed .287/.442/.481 with four homers and three steals in 138 PAs. His .386 BABIP is high but backed by his FB% (20.5), IFFB% (0), and LD% (23.3) rates. He walked at a 19.6% clip, struck out 24.6% of the time despite a 7.2 SwStr%, and flashed power potential with a 26.7% HR/FB.

Julien doesn't have a tremendous MiLB track record, but his resume is so consistent it's fair to conclude this is who he is. Notably, his brief big-league career includes a 33.3 K%, 22.2 SwStr%, and .278 BABIP. None of those numbers are reflective of the real Julien.


Edouard Julien Scouting Report

While not one of the traditional tools, scouts rave about Julien's plate discipline. His FanGraphs TL,DR notes that Julien possesses "perhaps the best plate discipline in the minors" while his MLB Pipeline write-up notes that Julien is almost "too passive at times." Since plate discipline is his carrying tool, the scouting report on Julien is a bit odd.

FanGraphs ranks him 77th overall despite a 35/40 hit tool, showing just how much work the plate discipline is doing. They give Julien 60 raw power and expect that to translate to 60 game power in the future, though his current power grade is just 50. Notably, his footspeed is only a 40 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

MLB Pipeline goes the other way, seeing 60-grade hit but 50-grade power. Julien's blurb notes that he has plus bat speed and strength that provide pop to all fields, hitting nearly as many HR to left as his pull side last year. He's ranked fourth in the organization and 83rd overall, though 40-grade speed is mentioned again.

Julien stole bases in the minors, but his scouting reports suggest that his running game is more a function of picking his spots than blazing wheels. That will likely limit his SB attempts in Minnesota, though going 19-for-26 (73% success) at Double-A and a perfect 3-for-3 at Triple-A should help. Both scouting reports also suggest a poor defender, though adequate at 2B if he hits.


Projecting the Playing Time of Edouard Julien

Julien was called up to cover for the injured Jorge Polanco and figures to play every day as long as he's out. However, nothing's been promised to him other than that. The good news is that the Twins seem to believe in him, batting him cleanup in his first game post-recall. Roster Resource projects Julien to hit fifth, and he most frequently hit leadoff in his first taste of the Show. If the Twins are willing to give Julien an important lineup role, they trust him in the lineup.

Furthermore, the best possible Twins lineup likely includes Julien at DH with Byron Buxton patrolling center. Buxton has been limited to DH duties thus far this season to keep him healthy, but that forces Michael A. Taylor's 32 K% and .221/.273/.389 line into the lineup daily. As a contending club, the Twins probably cannot afford to keep doing that.


The Verdict on Edouard Julien

Julien figures to hit for a high batting average with an even higher on-base percentage thanks to his batted ball profile while swiping the occasional bag. He'll pop a few homers too, but he won't make an impact in the power categories without a significant swing change that could compromise his BA.

If your fantasy team needs BA or OBP from a MI slot, adding Julien while he is only rostered in 4% of Yahoo! leagues is the prudent move. That makes him a Champ.

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