After a dream year where he reached the major leagues and hit 16 homers in a Minnesota Twins uniform, participated in the end-of-season playoffs and obtained two votes in the race for rookie of the year, the player of second baseman Édouard Julien feels ready to go even further in 2024 as he leaves Quebec on February 8 for his team’s training camp in Fort Myers.
“This year, my goal is to make the team, to start the year in the big leagues”, indicates to the Sun the one who was recalled from the St. Paul Saints during the season last year.
I am in constant contact with the coaches and I have an idea of what they expect of me.
The Twins coaching staff has asked the 24-year-old to practice more at second base in addition to getting some reps at first base, and they also want him to be ready to face both pitchers right-handers, against whom he hit for an average of .274 last year, than left-handers, against whom he hit for .196 without ever hitting a home run.
“Last year, I arrived in an unknown world when I was called up and it was the first time that the Twins people saw me play in the majors. Of course I will still have to fight for a position next year, but it helps a lot to already know everyone,” underlines the one that the major leagues and the ESPN site place for the moment as number one of the Twins in the second cushion.
“I also put a lot of effort into my training, my nutrition, my sleep. It’s a whole new season and I’m ready,” explains Julien, who has hired staff to take care of his health.
This is a new step for me, I hired a new trainer, a person who takes care of my meals and another who teaches me what to do to recover well.
His new coach, from outside Quebec, is also in contact with his Quebec coaches Josué Peley and Guillaume Leduc so that everyone has the data to be able to push the Édouard Julien machine to its maximum and give the best advice regarding types of rehabilitation , massages and acupuncture which he will need to perform well.
Play every day
During the off-season, Julien admits that he worked a lot to improve his average against left-handed pitchers. “It was important for me to be able to see the ball a little better. Before, during the winter, I only faced right-handers, but this year I also faced left-handers and I even adjusted the ball machine so that it works as if the ball came from a pitcher left-handed,” he explains.
“In view of the upcoming training camp, I also asked for a lot of repetitions against lefties and the coach (Rocco Baldelli) said he would do anything to make me face lefties because he would also really like to be able to put me in the lineup every day. »
Since the Twins haven’t brought many free agents to the team so far for next season, besides reliever Josh Staumont, Julien should also see a lot of familiar faces back in the locker room in the spring.
In the meantime, he returned to training after a winter where he recovered from the harsh regime of 147 games played in the majors and at the AAA level. “Honestly, what I did most this winter was rest and see my family and friends. It’s a long season and it’s not easy not to think about baseball even during the off-season,” he concludes.