Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email
Photo

Article: Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #1 Royce Lewis

royce lewis
  • Please log in to reply
67 replies to this topic

#1 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 3,365 posts

Posted 20 February 2018 - 09:54 PM

It says a lot about Royce Lewis that he could probably write this profile about himself and it would be more accurate – encompassing all the good and bad – than anything I could hope to draft.

Mature, wise, and self-aware beyond his years, Lewis possesses an extremely rare makeup that has many people (including myself) convinced he'll harness his incredible talent and turn into a big-league star. It's only a matter of when.Age: 18 (DOB: 6/5/99)
2017 Stats (Rookie/Low-A): 239 PA, .279/.381/.407, 4 HR, 27 RBI
ETA: 2020
2017 Ranking: NA

National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 24 | MLB: 20 | ESPN: 25 | BP: 27

What's To Like
It's tough to weigh things like disposition and character in prospect evaluations, especially from afar. Clearly they matter, but to to what extent? And how can you really quantify such intangible and subjective qualities?

It's easier to focus on the concrete and palpable: skills, athleticism, body type. And in each of these areas, Lewis grades out beautifully. But you can't really talk about him as a player without mentioning his striking composure.

You can plainly see from watching him talk that the 18-year-old, not a year removed from high school, is unusually sharp and eloquent for his age. He was invited to appear at TwinsFest in January, a rarity for freshly drafted teenagers but a no-brainer in his case. Upon being selected first overall last June, he stashed his $6.7 million signing bonus in a trust fund, opting to live off his modest minor-league wage and foregoing the typical flashy celebratory splurge.

“This guy has a chance to change a franchise with his personality and charisma,” said Twins scouting director Sean Johnson upon selecting Lewis. “He’s a magnet. People want to be around him.”

Count Lewis's first manager in the system, Ramon Borrego, as a believer. Er, unbeliever.

“He’s unbelievable," said the Gulf Coast League skipper. "He knows how to focus. The good thing about him, is he’s very humble. This kid is different."

Personality. Charisma. Focus. Humility.

These are good traits in that they project a leader and high-caliber clubhouse presence. But they're also overprescribed and, at times, overblown. It's about what you can do on the field.

Fortunately, Lewis's intellect and acumen extend there as well. He's lauded for his baseball IQ, grasping the game's complexities naturally. He recognizes his own weaknesses and limitations in a way you don't often see.

When you ask around, you hear the same thing about Lewis repeatedly: He gets it. He's not presumptive or entitled, and anyone can see it. He's also a realist:

"They told me to play at short until I prove I can't," Lewis said last month, candidly adding: "I know I can always transition to center field and play at a high level."

Regardless of where he ends up defensively, he figures to be an asset with his top-end speed (he's no Byron Buxton, but he's not that far off) and smooth movements.

Lewis's hitting tools are advanced, which was made obvious by his bat's seamless entry into the pro ranks. Lewis posted an .803 OPS in the GCL, with more walks than strikeouts, and impressed the organization so much he was promoted straight to Cedar Rapids in August. He ended up being the third-youngest player to take an AB in the Midwest League.

Despite facing opponents nearly three years older on average, Lewis more than held his own, batting .296/.363/.394. He finished 18-for-21 on stolen bases between the two levels.

The No. 1 pick is a speedy, selective, disciplined contact hitter, and prospect analysts are unanimous in believing that more power – perhaps much more – is on the way as he fills out.

Once that element of his game arrives, Lewis could become the true embodiment of a five-tool player.

What's Left To Work On
Adding muscle mass will be a key area of focus in the next couple of seasons. Lewis checked in last year at 6'2" and under 190 lbs.

"I feel like I haven't grown into any of my man strength yet," as he puts it.

He's already well on his way to bulking up, having reportedly added around 15 pounds in the offseason. It would be no surprise to see a rapid uptick in power, which would place him on a mind-boggling trajectory offensively.

The more interesting thing to track right now is his defensive development. The Cali native didn't play shortstop until his senior year of high school, and was – according to ESPN's Keith Law – "well-below-average" at the position as a prep. Lewis showed reasonably well at short in his pro debut, but the jury is out, to say the least.

If his efforts in the weight room lead to improved arm strength, that could change this outlook.

What's Next?
"I'm patient. I'm still only 18 and don't turn 19 until June." More astute words from the man himself.

Patience is warranted. Lewis is the best player on our Top 20 list but also the youngest. He finds himself on the fast track after tackling Low-A within three months of being drafted, but the Twins will probably take it somewhat slow with him, even if he forces the issue on his end.

For comparison, Buxton – who hardly could have performed better during his rapid ascent through the minors – didn't reach the majors until three years and eight days after his draft date. That same timeline would put Lewis in a Twins uniform around June of 2020.

However, Lewis is already ahead of Buxton's pace, and Buck also lost nearly an entire season in the minors to injury. So, who knows.

Right now Lewis has a fair shot at beating the precedent set by Buxton, and possibly even fellow first overall pick Joe Mauer, who first donned a Minnesota uniform at age 20, on the third Opening Day after he was drafted.

If Lewis remains on a fast track and moves to center along the way, as many expect, it's going to create an interesting dilemma given Buxton's presence. But that's a dilemma the Twins will be happy to have on their hands.


TD Top Prospects: 16-20
TD Top Prospects: 11-15
TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil Baddoo
TD Top Prospect: #9 Brusdar Graterol
TD Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow
TD Top Prospects: #7 Brent Rooker
TD Top Prospects: #6 Wander Javier
TD Top Prospects: #5 Alex Kirilloff
TD Top Prospects: #4 Stephen Gonsalves
TD Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon
TD Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero
TD Top Prospects: #1 Royce Lewis

Click here to view the article
  • Respy likes this

#2 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 15,912 posts

Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:27 PM

Just to put this out there... Our individual rankings:

 

Seth (1), Nick (1), Cody (1), Tom (1). 

  • mikelink45, nytwinsfan, KidBro and 5 others like this

#3 highlander

highlander

    Member

  • Members
  • 154 posts

Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:41 PM

Seth, I'm guessing the staff writers think this fella had potential! LOL

I hope he is half as good a advertised.

#4 Dantes929

Dantes929

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,066 posts

Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:54 PM

 

Seth, I'm guessing the staff writers think this fella had potential! LOL

I hope he is half as good a advertised.

I hope he's twice as good!

 

  • jokin, Sssuperdave, Otwins and 1 other like this
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff.

#5 AlwaysinModeration

AlwaysinModeration

    Rochester Red Wings

  • Members
  • 1,787 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 04:07 AM

If he has a good year, I’m guessing he jumps into the top 10 nationally.
  • mikelink45 likes this

#6 Penthang

Penthang

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 74 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:42 AM

If I were in Minnesota I’d get early season Cedar Rapids tickets because the drive yo Fort Myers is a lot longer. Late May/early June anyone?
  • USNMCPO, mikelink45, slash129 and 2 others like this

--Twins Fan From Texas


#7 mikelink45

mikelink45

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 1,662 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 06:40 AM

This is one rating that really has me excited.This looks like a star for the future which I hope is not too far away.I would love to see him stick at short - assets like Ripken, Rodriquez...that carry a bat and a glove at short can really make a team.I think the Orioles are figuring that out this year.  


#8 Han Joelo

Han Joelo

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,129 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:44 AM

In addition to the physical talent, it takes a special guy to carry that 1st overall pick load.  Glad the Twins found one.


#9 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 8,875 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:27 AM

Lewis is really the ultimate "Twins" pick. Just a tool shed waiting to be unleashed plus all the intangibles you'd want.. As surprised as I was that we took him over some of those college pitchers, it really isn't surprising that the Twins wanted this kind of guy.

 

Obviously we just have to see him play this year but he does seem to have it and could, like Mauer and Buxton, end up being the #1 ranked prospect in all of baseball.

  • Twins33, markos, bluechipper and 1 other like this

#10 Dantes929

Dantes929

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,066 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:43 AM

"Upon being selected first overall last June, he stashed his $6.7 million signing bonus in a trust fund, opting to live off his modest minor-league wage and foregoing the typical flashy celebratory splurge."

Probably more like 3.7 million after taxes but on the surface of ithe's eithera smart kid or has some smart advisors.Not only is he set for life he can still say "Sorry, I can't pick up this check cuz I don't have access to the money."  

  • ashburyjohn, Thrylos, diehardtwinsfan and 1 other like this
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff.

#11 Brandon

Brandon

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,668 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:58 AM

With Buxton as our CF, Lewis could slide to LF and then nothin but rain drops falling in the OF will really hold true.
  • SF Twins Fan likes this

#12 birdwatcher

birdwatcher

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,451 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:14 AM

 

 "Sorry, I can't pick up this check cuz I don't have access to the money."  

 

Hey. That's Falvey's line. ;)

  • Yoke, Han Joelo, Mike Sixel and 7 others like this

#13 bobs

bobs

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 143 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:08 AM

The more I read about this kid, the more this "old school" baseball guy likes him.Assuming good health and natural progression, Falvine seems to have hit a home run on him...and got better value with other picks b/c they took him.

  • gagu likes this

#14 Parker Hageman

Parker Hageman

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 2,614 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:20 AM

One of the things the Cubs did when Epstein took over was to instruct their scouting staff to find not only high caliber players but HIGH CHARACTER players as well when they were drafting.

 

From the NY Times:

 

“In the draft room, we will always spend more than half the time talking about the person rather than the player,” Epstein said. “What are their backgrounds, their psyches, their habits, and what makes them tick?

 

“And we would ask our scouts to provide three detailed examples of how these young players faced adversity on the field and responded to it, and three examples of how they faced adversity off the field. Because baseball is built on failure. The old expression is that even the best hitter fails seven out of 10 times.”

 

 

I can't help but think about this when considering Royce Lewis.

 

The Twins' decision to select Lewis over the higher profile Hunter Greene may come down to just that. Insiders say the Twins staff preferred Lewis' makeup to Greene's, citing Lewis' lack of social media presence, staying a safe distance out of the limelight, and a solid family life. There is probably more details behind that selection (after all, the Twins went heavier into the analytics side of the draft than they ever did before). This isn't to say Greene lacks character (he is highly involved in charity work already), but there was something about Lewis that separated him from Greene. 

  • birdwatcher, Bob Sacamento, Tibs and 4 others like this

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#15 birddog

birddog

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 219 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:21 AM

I have to admit that I was hoping we'd take Hunter Greene and disappointed with our choice of Lewis. We'll know in 5 years if we made the right choice, but I really like everything I've read about the charisma of this kid. I'm sure Falvine spent countless hours researching the pick. If he proves to be the best player in that draft and also allowed Twins to sign the HS pitcher out of Louisiana by signing for under slot money, Falvine will indeed look like geniuses.

  • SF Twins Fan likes this

#16 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Members
  • 25,294 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:58 AM

If they won't take guys on social media, why is Rooker in this system?

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#17 JLease

JLease

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 202 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 11:08 AM

I love this kid. The early returns are great, and I hope his performance keeps pushing him quickly and steadily up through the system. Cedar Rapids looks like the perfect spot for him to start off this season, and we can let his performance drive when he gets moved up to Ft. Myers. but I would not be shocked if he got a spring training invite in 2020.

 

It'll be fun to see how he tracks against Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay, since it seemed like those were the three players the Twins had been focused around (maybe Kyle Wright too?). It sort of reminds you of the 2001 draft, right? You had people back then pushing hard to take Mark Prior, the more polished pitcher who was MLB-ready or even Mark Texiera over Joe Mauer. Twins made the right then, and I hope they made the right choice this time too. Right now, nothing to suggest they made a bad call.

 

(Looking back on the 2001 draft is kind of fun: Mauer has a small edge over Texiera and David Wright as the best players to come out of the early rounds of that draft class, and there's no question he was the right choice over Prior, who was cooked by age 25.)

  • 70charger, Danchat and SF Twins Fan like this

#18 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 8,875 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 11:09 AM

 

If they won't take guys on social media, why is Rooker in this system?

? Isn't every prospect on social media?

  • ashburyjohn, birdwatcher and MN_ExPat like this

#19 Parker Hageman

Parker Hageman

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 2,614 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 11:10 AM

If they won't take guys on social media, why is Rooker in this system?


The reality is, everyone is on social media platforms. My understanding is that they liked that Lewis stayed away from it.
  • ashburyjohn, birdwatcher, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#20 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Members
  • 25,294 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 11:22 AM

In any event....he could be a great player. I hope so. Since they don't have enough pitching, they need to hit and play defense better and better. 

  • jokin likes this

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: royce lewis