116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – He appears to be an old-school, small-ball player at first glance. But dig a little deeper into the numbers Edouard Julien is putting up in his rookie season in professional baseball.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels infielder-outfielder leads the minor leagues with 61 walks in 57 games, including Friday night’s 9-8 win over Peoria at Veterans Memorial Stadium. He has 24 stolen bases.
So small ball, right? Not exclusively because Julien also has 20 extra-base hits, including five home runs. With the patience and speed comes the ability to drive the ball.
“I know that even if I put it (in play) every time, I wouldn’t always find a hole, I wouldn’t always get a base hit,” Julien said. “So taking a walk is very important in what I want, selecting the pitches I want. Not trying to hit what his strength is, knowing what my strength is and what I’m good at. Sticking to my approach is very important.”
The 21-year-old is a rather unique player with a unique background.
He’s from Quebec, his father helping him develop a love for baseball over hockey. He ended up playing college ball all the way down south at Auburn, a draft-eligible sophomore who signed with the parent Minnesota Twins in 2018 as an 18th-round draft pick for a $493,500 bonus, way over the slot dollar amount of $125,000 for every player picked after the 11th round.
He blew out his right, throwing elbow while playing for Canada’s national team in the Pan-Am Games in Peru shortly after signing and had to get Tommy John surgery, with that and the COVID-19 pandemic delaying his pro debut until this season.
“You play every day here,” he said. “When you play every day, you can pick up things quicker. The scouting reports are different because you play every day. You play the same team six days in a row, so you’re trying to adjust to them, they’re trying to adjust to you. It’s a battle there.
“College was more about winning, every game was important. Winning here is important, too, but I’d say it’s more based on each individual improving and trying to make it to the big leagues.”
A lefty hitter, Julien earned a quick promotion to high-Class A by hitting .299 in 47 games at low-A Fort Myers. In nine games with the Kernels, he’s hitting .233 with a pair of homers, three steals and 10 walks.
Julien’s defensive position has yet to be determined. He played third base in college but has played third and second as a pro, as well as the outfield.
“Like everyone says, you hit your way to the big leagues. You get moved up if you do well hitting wise,” Julien said. “The fact that I can play a lot of positions will help me to find myself with a spot in the lineup every day.”
The Kernels (32-26) won their fifth in a row in a peculiar way. Peoria tied the game with five runs in the top of the ninth inning against relief pitcher Zach Featherstone, but Cedar Rapids won it in the bottom half on a walk, a hit by pitch and DaShawn Keirsey Jr.’s winning RBI double to center.
The teams are scheduled to play again Saturday night at 6:35.
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