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Souhan: Mauer is Twins 2019 Most Valuable Pensioner

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Game Thread: Twins vs White Sox 5/26/19 1:10 PM CDT

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TOO EARLY FOR MAGIC NUMBER?

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Prospect Spotlight Series: Royce Lewis

As a way to both look back at a great minor league season and celebrate the release of the 2019 Twins Prospect Handbook, I’m shining the spotlight on a few players in the system. Next up is Royce Lewis.

The 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is available in paperback for $17.99 or as an eBook for $12.99.
Before we get to Lewis, here's a quick look at the players we've featured so far in this series:

Jhoan Duran
Alex Kirilloff
Lewis Thorpe

Each of the highlight packages in this series focuses on a specific aspect of a player's game or homes in on a particular performance. When it comes to Lewis, there aren't many questions. He was the No. 1 overall pick and is a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball. If there's anything up for debate, however, it's his defense.

Of course, you could say this about pretty much every shortstop ever. There is an incredibly high bar set for shortstop defense, and rightly so.

It's very difficult to try to get a good read on a player's defense. Loads of advanced metrics have become available that have shined a light on fielding at the Major League level, but there's nothing available for minor leaguers. Well, at least publicly. So let's take a look at some video.



The last Twins shortstop to earn at least three straight Opening Day starts was Cristian Guzman (1999-2004), so this is a team that could use some stability at the position. Will Lewis be the man to provide that steady presence? It's too early to tell, but I wouldn't bet against it at this point.

So, now that you've seen a little of Royce's defense, let me know what you think. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something about his style that strikes me as somewhat unorthodox. Still, he's also showing all the raw skills you'd want in a shortstop, so I see no reason to move him off the position anytime soon.

Lewis is just one of more than 160 players featured in the Prospect Handbook.We had a ton of fun putting the book together and we’re really excited for people to read it. Recognizing these minor league players for their efforts and ability is a big motivating factor in the project, so we would love for you to pick up a copy.

Attached Image: Handbook.jpg
Click here for more information on the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook

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19 Comments

Thanks Tom. This, like all of the earlier Prospect Spotlights, is superb. 

 

As for Royce, he sure looks like a legit shorstop to me.The range and athleticism are obvious and the arm looked surprisingly good. In fact, all three of those things look better than the corresponding tools for Polanco, and by defensive metrics, he's an average or close to it major league SS. Plus by all accounts Lewis has a great head on his shoulders, so I'm not very worried about his mental fitness for the position. In fact, just watching these plays, it is hard for me to imagine Lewis not being a better fielding SS than Polanco at some point, but I guess you are right, a lot can happen before he reaches the majors. 

    • glunn, Dman and Tom Froemming like this
I’m going to nit pick a guy yet I hope he stick at SS. Footwork looks slow, yet foot speed looks well and can see he can get there with the sliding stop up the middle up to his feet quickly. But getting footwork down and into throwing motion is needed. Arm looks strong but looks long. Meaning takes him a long time to get ball out of glove and long to first. Not sure if it is all footwork related or if it’s natural long throwing motion or a combo of the 2. Neither is detrimental just adjustment before big league ready. Expected from any 19yr old. I would argue his value changes segnificantly if he has to move off SS and into the OF. We’ll have to see what 2019 holds but a serious of interesting prospects to keep an eye on.
    • glunn and Dr. Evil like this

Agree wit High heat a bit. Lots of development time left and I know he's made big strides already so this is not a big deal yet.

 

Definitely looks like he has the tools. Shows range. Arm looks strong, but there's definitely a lot of effort in his motion to show it off. Seems to me like he's throwing absolutely as hard as he can, and to borrow Heat's term, he's 'long' for it.

    • nytwinsfan, Dr. Evil and MN_ExPat like this

Lotsa crow hops and not very efficient. All solvable. What an athlete.

    • Steve Lein, jimbo92107, nytwinsfan and 2 others like this
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 09 2019 10:12 AM
Really excited to see Lewis in a Twins uniform one day, and hopefully that day(s) is in September (2019), but whenever I think of that one thing comes to mind. What if Lewis, Gordon, and Arraez all prove to be as good as, if not better, than Polanco?? Who’s the odd man out?? Because it definitely won’t be Lewis.

Yes his technique needs refinement, but with a system wide emphasis on coaching and the money invested in Lewis already, they could bring in a personal shortstop coach to work with him 24/7.

Not being a shortstop expert, I hope Lewis can stick there. If he doesn't, the consensus seems to be that the outfield is in his future. Is there a reason that he could not play third base? Is his arm strong enough? Where would he be more valuable if SS is not in his future?

    • Dr. Evil likes this

Thanks for sharing the video. I don't have a clue from a technical standpoint. As always, he looks plenty athletic.

 

Hitting can provide sufficient value to justify moving Lewis to a less important position. But hitting can also justify keeping a 'below average' defending SS at the position. Teams won a lot of games with Jhonny Peralta and Derek Jeter playing SS. It would seem reasonable that Lewis has a chance of being at least that good defensively at the position. In the meantime, keep him at SS in the minors...and like for all prospects, I'll remain more worried about his hitting, almost no matter how well he hits :)

I say keep him at SS unless or until Buxton proves if he can hit or not. If not then Lewis can be his replacement.
As stated, just no way to predict his defense definitively at this point, in A+ and only 19. All the tools seem to be there. I agree with the "unorthodox" look. He just looks "longer" than a typical SS and his throwing motion looks a little more over the top. It also appears he is graceful, but needing a little more polish in his footwork.

Nothing here to indicate he can't and won't continue to improve and smooth things out.
    • Steve Lein, tarheeltwinsfan, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

Not being a shortstop expert, I hope Lewis can stick there. If he doesn't, the consensus seems to be that the outfield is in his future. Is there a reason that he could not play third base? Is his arm strong enough? Where would he be more valuable if SS is not in his future?


His best tool (run) would be wasted at third base. If he can't stick at SS, he's a center fielder.
    • Twins33 and tarheeltwinsfan like this

He's a heck of an athelete. The tools are all there and I fully believe that he could play just about anywhere on the diamond. I might be a little ahead of myself, but I see a faster version of Cory Seager.

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tarheeltwinsfan
Jan 09 2019 04:51 PM

Friends, watching that video of Lewis fielding and throwing, I have one thing to say: "We have seen the future".

    • DocBauer and howieramone2 like this
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Don't Feed the Greed Guy
Jan 10 2019 07:12 AM
He looks good, passing my JV baseball coaching "eye test." Seems to stay back on the ball, "letting the ball play him" rather than coming in on the ball, eliminating one or two hops. The arm strength covers for that hesitation, however. A good fielder. Great? Maybe...
    • DocBauer likes this
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Halsey Hall
Jan 17 2019 08:07 PM
Royce and Gordon are now in Ft Myers getting an early start. I have to like that.
    • Carole Keller and big dog like this
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Carole Keller
Jan 17 2019 08:53 PM

Royce and Gordon are now in Ft Myers getting an early start. I have to like that.


Who else is around?
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Halsey Hall
Jan 17 2019 10:08 PM
Don't know, not me, yet. I heard a bunch of pitchers. I'll get there the first of Feb.

 

Lotsa crow hops and not very efficient. All solvable. What an athlete.

That's what I saw,too. His footwork will improve in a year. Star SS.

    • dbminn likes this
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Halsey Hall
Jan 18 2019 10:46 AM
Royce Lewis was going home today.

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