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Royce Lewis Is Putting It All On Display

Royce Lewis was the first overall selection in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. The Minnesota Twins passed on Tommy John recipient Hunter Greene, a Babe Ruthian multi-position player, in the process. As one of the game’s best prospects, it’s time for Lewis to take the next step.
Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Although not all minor league players develop at the same rate, it’s become clear that Lewis is knocking on the door to the big leagues. He’s not a realistic shot to crack the major league roster for 2020, but a debut this season is trending more towards a possibility.

Having enjoyed plenty of run in big league camp thanks to an injury sustained by starter Jorge Polanco, Lewis has been provided ample opportunity to show what he’s capable of. More than in any other instance, the results on Tuesday in Clearwater provide a strong depiction of what’s currently taking place.

In his first at-bat Lewis stepped in and cranked a homer way out to left field. The wind was blowing in that direction, but with a distracted focus, my immediate reaction was to drop a four-letter word in simply saying, “Holy s***.” He got every bit of the pitch and cranked in over the Tiki bar down the line, eventually leaving the stadium. Although not seen as a hulking power threat, it was in that swing that Lewis displayed his advanced ability to send the pill on a ride.



Not long after his exploits at the dish, Lewis was making an impact in the field. Over the course of his day in the field it appeared there was a level of comfort between he and second baseman Luis Arraez (and a nice heads up prior to his home run). Fluid double plays were turned, and a level of communication seemed apparent. It was on a grounder deep in the hole, inducing a throw that Hall of Famer Derek Jeter would’ve been proud of, that we saw Royce’s defensive skill on display.



Plenty has been made about both his leg kick at the dish and the ability to stick at shortstop. It’s in instances like the two big contributions made against the Phillies that should give pause to any concerns. His home run came against big ticket free-agent acquisition Zack Wheeler, and the defensive effort was put up against a respectable runner in Adam Haseley. If we dream on an extrapolation of those results, it’s easy to see why he’s touted as one of baseball’s best prospects.

The flip side introduces us to the potential pitfalls of Lewis’ projection. He played a sound game defensively so there was nothing to be concerned with there. However, it was at the dish that we saw the negative effects of timing induced by a pronounced leg kick. There were not any strikeouts today, but his third at-bat included a lunge I’m sure he’d rather not replicate.



When utilizing a leg kick to work through rhythm and timing, a heavy emphasis must be put on getting that foot back down. If there’s a guess made to the pitch selection then any sort of incorrect thought process will likely result in a substantial weight transfer, wider base, and lack of impact at the point of contact. You’re certainly going to be fooled at times as a hitter, but the door left open for a pitcher to exploit it more often can be opened wider with a leg kick or moving hands at the plate.

Overall, this game was a very good representation of where Lewis is right now. The athleticism and talent are legit, he’s got the ability to be a bona fide star. There are a couple of refinements still be added however, and that will dictate his timeline to the big leagues, and his eventual impact when he arrives in Twins Territory.

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15 Comments

Those Phils' announcers were duly impressed by his play. Man, they were a pleasure to listen to, as I caught some of the game on replay. Much more than the usual 'homers,' they really did gush about Lewis, but they also had interesting things to say about the relative unknowns on the Twinks as well as their own boys. Nice. The Cards guys earlier in the week were very good, too. But whoa, whoever was on the Braves feed last week- they sucked.

    • glunn, jimbo92107 and Dman like this

Braves guy must have been a newer guy or backup.Traditionally they were always really fun to listen to.

Photo
stringer bell
Mar 11 2020 08:45 AM
Lewis looked great and the other top hitting prospects (Larnach, Rooker and Kirilloff) all looked pretty good.

Kirilloff looked pretty comfortable at first and I was impressed with Lewis particularly in the field.
    • glunn, jimbo92107, Dman and 3 others like this

WonderfulThis is what I have been hoping for.If Polanco or Arraez go down they have to call up Royce - if it is an extended absence.

    • jimbo92107, Sconnie, David HK and 1 other like this

I have to agree with the other comments here and say our top young hitters have looked good at the plate this spring. Lewis took Wheeler downtown like right now.

    • DocBauer and David HK like this

From what I've seen of Lewis, Rooker, Kirilloff and Larnach, the Twins have at least four guys coming up that can really pound the ball, and each of them appears to have a plan at the plate. Should we start calling Royce Lewis "Rolls" right now? Rolls, Rooks, Killer, and... shoot, what for Larnach? Larnie? Lars? That's a tough one.

    • glunn, DocBauer and David HK like this

 

From what I've seen of Lewis, Rooker, Kirilloff and Larnach, the Twins have at least four guys coming up that can really pound the ball, and each of them appears to have a plan at the plate. Should we start calling Royce Lewis "Rolls" right now? Rolls, Rooks, Killer, and... shoot, what for Larnach? Larnie? Lars? That's a tough one.

Think I'm gonna call him "Laser Larnach." You know, kind of like Razor Ruddock.:lol:

    • jimbo92107 likes this

I wonder if his showing this spring has changed his standing in the orgs long term plans???

I get that leg kicks can be bad, but there are players that have had great careers with leg kicks.Now if it becomes a major problem hopefully he is open to fixing it.To me, until it becomes a problem do not change it, the old saying if it is not broke do not fix it.Sometimes you can do more harm doing things like that.  

Hate the leg kick. Why make things more complicated? Doesn't seem like he'll need it to generate power. Nevertheless, encouraged by recent results. And very encouraged by the defense.

    • Dman, adorduan and sftwinsfan like this
The Twins now have a player with both a pronounced leg kick and long track record of success. Donaldson. Can't hurt Lewis having him around.
    • Minfidel likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Mar 11 2020 04:55 PM

Those Phils' announcers were duly impressed by his play. Man, they were a pleasure to listen to, as I caught some of the game on replay. Much more than the usual 'homers,' they really did gush about Lewis, but they also had interesting things to say about the relative unknowns on the Twinks as well as their own boys. Nice. The Cards guys earlier in the week were very good, too. But whoa, whoever was on the Braves feed last week- they sucked.

Yeah, my first impression is that the Phillies guys were heads over heels for Royce. It is good confirmation from another set of eyes.
    • DocBauer likes this
Hey Jimbo, how about "Launch" for Larnach? Or "Apollo" for launching rockets to the moon?
Buxton simply returned to what felt natural. With all due blessings from Rocco and Rowson and everyone else, from what I understand. Oh sure, there were probably suggestions and tweaks, but in keeping with the new and fresh approach of individual development, they pretty much let him just get comfortable. And look at what happened?

Lewis fought off some injury bugs and didn't have the season we hoped for. He then raked in the AFL, which is very competitive. Even earned MVP.

Sorry, forget who we were playing the other day but it was the opposing team's broadcasters, and they were talking about Lewis's leg kick. They referenced it as a timing mechanism and how quick he got the leg down. As long as Lewis can continue to do that, I don't see a real issue here. Timing is everything for a hitter. And even the best hitters slump, lose timing or mechanics once in a while. As long as his timing is not consistently slow or thrown off, I don't see an issue.

This kid has MAD skills and potential! SSS or not, we've glimpsed in ST what he can become. When I watch that crazy deep in the hole fielding play, I'm wondering who thinks he can't stick at SS.

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