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Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:52 PM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
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New Target field policy...no bags of any kind

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:27 PM
Thankfully we went before gates opened and were warned by a friendly security guy in advance that this year there are no bags of any kind...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:58 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:36 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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Is There Any Hope For Royce Lewis?

Well now, that’s an awfully negative title, Matt. I know, I know. Look, I meant this as a sort of “hey, can we find any historical comps for what Royce Lewis has had to endure”? Or, more precisely; “are there any other first overall draft picks who have had similar experiences and still succeeded”? It wasn’t meant to be this depressing. Anyways, let’s find out.
Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
You all have probably heard the news by now. Royce Lewis tore his ACL after slipping on Texas ice and now will be out for all of 2021. That’s an unfortunate Mad Libs scenario if I’ve ever seen one but it’s real and so are the consequences.

This injury is now yet another speed bump in the path that has tested Lewis’ status as a top prospect. From underperforming in 2019 to questions regarding his swing to lost development in 2020 due to a canceled minor league season, Lewis’ career has been proclaimed dead by some before he has even seen a major league pitch. But is that fair? Are there any other first overall picks who struggled or endured major injuries but still ended up succeeding at the major league level?

Here is the list of every first overall pick in MLB. The list includes 55 players over 56 drafts (ex-Twin Danny Goodwin was drafted twice and is the only player to accomplish this). We have some familiar names like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and, of course, Joe Mauer. Oh, and we also have Delmon Young. Hope he’s doing well these days.

Let’s begin by looking at the players that share Lewis’ position; shortstop. That leaves us with Dansby Swanson, Carlos Correa, Tim Beckham, Justin Upton (who was apparently taken as a shortstop, did not know that!), Matt Bush (yikes), Jennifer Lopez’s husband, Chipper Jones, Shawon Dunston, Bill Almon, and Tim Foli. Let’s narrow down that list a bit more to just include the players who were All-Stars (my arbitrary definition of “successful”). Doing so gives us just Correa, Upton, A-Rod, Jones, and Dunston.

Immediately, Lewis is in some trouble. All of the “successful players” debuted no later than three years after being drafted. All five players were also, if not outright the youngest player in the league at the time of their debut, among the youngest players in the game in their rookie season. Lewis will now be at least 22-years-old when he makes his debut. It may seem aggressive to deem that “too old” but debuting that late as a high school shortstop puts him in a similar category as Tim Beckham, and you do not want to be in a similar category as Tim Beckham.

Maybe only looking at shortstops is too narrow. Let’s expand the list to include every All-Star position player. That adds Bryce Harper, Joe Mauer, Adrián González, Josh Hamilton, Darin Erstad, Phil Nevin, Ken Griffey Jr., B.J. Surhoff, Darryl Strawberry, Bob Horner, Harold Baines, Jeff Burroughs, and Rick Monday to the list. Everyone on this list again debuted within three years of being drafted with the exceptions of González and Hamilton.

González does provide a bit of good news for Lewis and Twins fans alike. González was taken first overall by the Marlins in 2000 as a high school first baseman but never hit at an overwhelming level while in the minors. His OPS topped out at .868 in 2001 but he tended to hover around the .660 mark during his time in the minors. A wrist injury in 2003 convinced the competing Marlins to deal him for help at the deadline and so González joined the Rangers. The injury plagued him for much of the next two years as it was only diagnosed after the season and González rushed the rehab. He didn’t play much over two seasons with Texas and was dealt for the third time in his career, this time to San Diego. González hit well in 2006 and would eventually become a strong middle-of-the-order presence on three different squads for nearly a decade. González retired in 2018 with a career .843 OPS, five All-Star selections, four Gold Gloves, and two Silver Slugger awards.

So is there hope for Lewis? Potentially. The history of first overall shortstops who took longer than three years to reach the majors is certainly not pretty. Adrián González, however, proves that a first-overall pick can both struggle in the minors and suffer a significant injury while still becoming a great MLB player. The cards may be stacked against Lewis but history shows that it may still be possible for him to turn it around and become a great player at the major league level.

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14 Comments

Interesting viewpoint.I look at Buxton & Sano. Both were highly valued and both have had injury issues and both have yet to have a season that shows their true talent.Maybe they will or maybe they won't.I can imagine Lewis will have a similar path. Lets hope all 3 have successful careers.:)

    • Dman likes this
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Doctor Gast
Feb 27 2021 03:46 PM
All of his setbacks has been minor and over exaggerated until now. The worst part isn't the time missed, it's the time missed not learning under Simmons. He'll come back and be a great player. Missing 1yr. won't make or break him because he's a driven athlete. But what makes me sad is the missed opportunity of being mentored by Simmons.
    • DocBauer, Melissa and chinmusic like this
I think the underwhelming performance is more concerning than anything. When you’re carrying an OPS under .750 through the minors, have questionable hitting mechanics, and there’s questions about whether you can stick at short....it’s a major concern for a guy you took #1 overall.

It’s different if we’re talking about a compensatory pick, or even back end of the first round. But, when you see what a guy like Gore is doing, it’s tough to feel good about we got for #1 overall.

This isn’t a hindsight issue like Mike Trout, either. There were plenty of people saying Gore was the best player on the draft at the time. This has the making of another draft miss that’ll haunt (see also the recent Nick Gordon article).

The MLB Draft is a crap shoot. We all know that. But, when you choose a philosophy of developing players over paying established guys via free agency, you sure as heck better draft well. Especially when you have the pick of any player on the board.
    • jun and theJemmer like this
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Major League Ready
Feb 27 2021 04:42 PM

 

I think the underwhelming performance is more concerning than anything. When you’re carrying an OPS under .750 through the minors, have questionable hitting mechanics, and there’s questions about whether you can stick at short....it’s a major concern for a guy you took #1 overall.

It’s different if we’re talking about a compensatory pick, or even back end of the first round. But, when you see what a guy like Gore is doing, it’s tough to feel good about we got for #1 overall.

This isn’t a hindsight issue like Mike Trout, either. There were plenty of people saying Gore was the best player on the draft at the time. This has the making of another draft miss that’ll haunt (see also the recent Nick Gordon article).

The MLB Draft is a crap shoot. We all know that. But, when you choose a philosophy of developing players over paying established guys via free agency, you sure as heck better draft well. Especially when you have the pick of any player on the board.

 

I hate to say it but how good we be looking had they drafted Gore. ouch! I can't really blame them because drafting a high school pitcher 1/1 is a risky proposition but man would I like to have Gore now.

ACL tear in February give 4 months recovery and he should be able to swing Atleast by July. Likely no actual game time but time to focus on the swing and mechanics. Just a tough with a lost 2020 season already. 2 years without any real game experience is a major blow to development. Hopefully he can play some AZ fall league and or winter ball.
Sorry Matt, you started to lose me at 56 drafts and further lost me when you looked at a 3yr model of making an appearance at the ML level.

First of all every selection, every player is different than every other player. Second, how can we possibly, accurately, quantify 56yrs of 1st picks, at different positions, considering how many washed out or barely made it? Third, medical procedures and recovery have not only changed in 56yrs, they have changed in 20yrs, 10yrs, even the past 5yrs. And each injury by itself is different. As is the recovery for each individual.

So how about we just focus on Lewis directly?

THE BAD: He will miss all of 2021 after not being able to play in 2020. This is terrible, aweful news for Lewis and the Twins. There is no positive here. His career is now set back at least a full year, coming off a missed 2020 as well. He's going to lose, arguably, two full seasons of development for things not his fault.

THE GOOD/POSITIVE: He is super talented and had a great debut in 2017 with an even better 2nd season in 2018, even reaching A+ for about 1/3 of the year. Despite battling some nagging injuries early on in 2019, he showed enough when getting healthy to advance to AA as a 20yr old. He then went to the AFL where he bounced around positionally due to the other talented players on the roster, and played and hit so well he was the AFL MVP!

We have no idea how he looked or how much he learned and improved in 2020 at St Paul, or instructional league, but at least he was playing, getting coached, etc. At 21yr old he was primed to begin 2021 at AA with thoughts he would spend at least part of the year at AAA getting ready for 2022. That's pretty heady stuff for a 21yo!

There is a very reasonable chance he is ready for instructs next fall. Which means there is a very reasonable chance he's ready for Wichita to begin 2022 and ready to go.

No matter how talented, no matter belief in his skills and development, I've never bought in to the FACT he was going to be ready at 22yo in 2022 to be the opening day SS. Maybe he would have been. Water under the bridge. But that in any way his career is de-railed because he won't be ready until age 23 or 24 is nonsense.

My $.02 And RX.
    • adjacent, PDX Twin, jrod23 and 5 others like this

Couldn't they just have Lewis sit on the bench in the big leagues while he's 

rehabbing ?He wouldn't play in any games, but he'd be around the major league clubhouse and could sit on the bench near Simmons.

Is there a rule against that ??  

    • theJemmer and rdehring like this

Couldn't they just have Lewis sit on the bench in the big leagues while he's
rehabbing ? He wouldn't play in any games, but he'd be around the major league clubhouse and could sit on the bench near Simmons.
Is there a rule against that ??


Interesting question. I believe their rehab facilities are in Ft Myers. If he could rehab here it would be great for him to hang around Simmons.
WAY TOO EARLY speculation, but an extension for Simmons before the year is done?
    • PDX Twin, wabene, rdehring and 1 other like this
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lecroy24fan
Feb 27 2021 07:34 PM

 

Couldn't they just have Lewis sit on the bench in the big leagues while he's 

rehabbing ?He wouldn't play in any games, but he'd be around the major league clubhouse and could sit on the bench near Simmons.

Is there a rule against that ??  

 

i believe in order to do that he'd have to be put on the 40 man roster and then the IL.

Of course there is hope for Lewis... 1.) Only looking at #1 overall picks doesn't tell us anything. Making it to the bigleagues within a certain amount of time doesn't tell us anything. Looking at a list of maybe Top 50 or Top 100 prospects who missed a full season and how they did. 

 

Buxton - missed most of a season... Turnedout really good.

Sano - missedall of a season... Turned out really good.

Kubel - missed all of a season... Turned outreally good. 

Alex Kirilloff ... missed all ofa season... we certainly think he'll be pretty good.

Luis Arraez ... missed almost all of a season with a torn ACL... turned out pretty good. 

 

Chipper Jones missed all of a season... Turned out pretty good.

    • DocBauer, jrod23, wabene and 3 others like this

 

i believe in order to do that he'd have to be put on the 40 man roster and then the IL.

You are probably correct. But I doubt there are any restrictions about his traveling to the Twins Cities a couple times later this summer for a week to have his knee checked out by the surgeon and hang out with the team in the clubhouse, on the field before the game, etc.

Yes

Main thing I wonder about is whether his plus plus speed comes back after rehab. That's arguably his strongest asset. The bat and glove and arm should return with no issues.