Catching Up with Futures Star Royce Lewis
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThe Miracle shortstop has played in three games since returning from Cleveland and has been absolutely on fire. Going 5-12 with a pair of dingers he’s started a hot streak that will hopefully pick up a slow first half. Before he gets too deep into the stretch run for Fort Myers, I caught up with him to talk about the experience at Progressive Field.
Twins Daily: The Futures Game provides a grander stage than what you may have experienced in previous All-Star Games. How was that similar or different?
Royce Lewis: It was amazing playing with the best players in the game and starting new relationships with new players I respect. The All-Star treatment on a bigger stage is different than what we do daily in the minor leagues.
TD: What was the All-Star experience like in the leadup to the game itself? I know you spent some time in Cleveland and explored FanFest a bit. What was that like?
RL: The experience was amazing; it was great to explore Cleveland and all the cool things the city has to offer. I enjoy learning about and exploring new areas, so this was an incredible opportunity for me as I had never been to Cleveland prior to this trip.
TD: You've played with and against a good number of players that shared the field on Sunday. What can you say about the talent the game showcased? Was there any one teammate or opponent that stood out to you?
RL: All players and people involved stood out to me considering the level of individuals I was around. I feel everyone stepped up their game and made improvements. It was an honor to play with such amazing individuals and to represent the Twins organization.
TD: Going to the event with your teammate at Fort Myers, Jordan Balazovic, had to provide a nice level of comfort. What can you tell us about him as a competitor and pitcher on the mound?
RL: Jordan is an amazing pitcher with a full arsenal of pitches. He has learned a ton about how to attack hitters, which he did with all his great stuff, to dominate like he does on a regular basis for the Miracle. The only disappointment was that I did not make the play at short for him when the opportunity presented itself!!!
TD: You got a hit in your very first at bat, any nerves going into that? We got the opportunity to listen to some of your thoughts while being mic'd up. Are you typically that light and loose while between the lines?
RL: I was not nervous and approached it like any other game I play. My approach was to drive the ball hard somewhere to get on base and give my team the opportunity to get on the board. Being mic'd up was great, as it showed my personality and how I play the game which is loose and having fun. That is who I am and always hope to be.
TD: Progressive Field is a stadium Twins fans would obviously like to see you dominate for some time over the course of your career. Was this the first time you played there? Any thoughts on the stadium?
RL: This was the first time playing a Progressive Field and it was incredible. I would love to one day play there 20 times per year. It was nice to learn about the stadium so in the future I would be ready and more comfortable being I've been there before.
TD: It was neat to see you managed by Hall of Famer and former Twins slugger Jim Thome. What can you tell us about him? Any specific lessons you took away?
RL: Jim was probably one of the most HUMBLE guys I've ever met. He said he had heard about me and was happy to finally meet me in person. He stated I am playing for one of the best organizations, and at a time that they are doing so well. I feel blessed and proud to be a Twin, just as he expressed he was. He is an all-around great guy I was fortunate to play for and be around on that special day.
TD: Finally, what was the one memory you'll hang onto from this event and experience?
RL: The experience was the best. Meeting so many incredible players, and people, as well as the excitement from the fans playing on a stage that big was great. It was exciting to see what the future could bring!