Obviously it was a fun matchup, but it is a matchup that fans of the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers hope to see a lot of over the next decade, or more. As a hard-throwing right-hander, Mize is likely to fly through the Tigers system and could debut as early as midseason 2019. But it gets me wondering just when we might see that match up at Comerica Park or Target Field.One question I get often on Twins Daily and on Twitter: "When could we expect to see Royce Lewis in the big leagues with the Twins?" To answer that question, I thought it might make some sense to look at two recently drafted shortstops selected high in their particular drafts who have gone on to big league successes, Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and Houston’s Carlos Correa. Maybe a glimpse at their timelines might help us better understand a possible timeline for Royce Lewis.
Let’s start also by saying that anything below this point likely assumes health. That’s never a guarantee, and it certainly can effect a timeline. Secondly, Correa and Lindor are proven All-Stars already.
They are players that Lewis often gets compared to, and that’s not necessarily fair either. Royce Lewis gets comps to Derek Jeter, not to Lenny Faedo. But as Lewis has said frequently, while he enjoys watching those players and their games, he is not trying to be the next Player X. Instead, he insisted in a podcast interview this past offseason, “Being comped with players is pretty cool, but at the end of the day, I want to be Royce Lewis. I don’t want to be Carlos Correa or Francisco Lindor, as amazing as those people are. I just want to be Royce Lewis, and I want to be my own type of person and bring something new to the game that others may have already brought but in my own special way.”
Royce Lewis: As we know, Lewis was the Twins top pick and the #1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. He had turned 18 years old just a week before being selected.
Carlos Correa: Houston surprised many people in and around the game of baseball when they selected Correa with the first overall pick out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He didn’t turn 18 until a few weeks after his draft season (September).
Francisco Lindor: Lindor grew up in Puerto Rico, but he went to high school in Florida. Cleveland made him the #8 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He turned 18 five months after he was drafted (November).
Royce Lewis (2017): Lewis signed quickly and the Twins sent him to Ft. Myers where he began his professional career in the GCL. He homered in his first at-bat. He played 36 games there and hit .271/.390/.414 (.803). We were then surprised that he was sent to Low-A Cedar Rapids (Midwest League) where he played in 18 games and hit .296/.363/.394 (.757).
Carlos Correa (2012): After signing, the Astros sent Correa to the GCL. He played in 39 games and hit .232/.270/.355 (.625) before ending that season with 11 games in the Appalachian League.
Francisco Lindor (2011): Lindor signed a bit later and his pro career began with just five games in the New York/Penn League.
FIRST FULL SEASON
Royce Lewis (2018): Lewis returned to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He played in 75 games for the Kernels and hit .315/.368/.485 (.853). About a month ago, he was promoted to High-A Ft. Myers where he has now hit .329/.418/.506 (.924) after his big game last night. Combined, he has 29 doubles and 12 home runs. Lewis turned 19 in early June.
Carlos Correa (2013): The Astros had Correa begin his first full professional season in the Midwest League with Quad Cities. He spent the full season with the Bandits where he hit .320/.405/.467 (.872) in 117 games. He hit 33 doubles, three triples and nine homers. Correa played the whole season at age 18.
Francisco Lindor (2012): Cleveland had Lindor start his first season in the Midwest League as well with Lake County. He played 122 games for the Captains and hit .257/.352/.355 (.707). He hit 24 doubles, three triples and six home runs. He spent the full season at age 18.
SECOND FULL SEASON
Royce Lewis (2019): To be determined. Lewis will turn 20 in early June.
Carlos Correa (2014): Correa was 19 years old throughout his second full season. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a full season. In mid-June, Correa’s season came to an end when he broke his fibula and missed the rest of the year. He played well to that point, hitting .325/.416/.510 (.926) in just 62 games at High-A Lancaster in the California League. He hit 16 doubles, six triples and six home runs in his partial season. He turned 19 after the season.
Francisco Lindor (2013): Lindor began his second full season at High-A Carolina of the Carolina League. In 83 games, he hit .306/.373/.410 (.783). He moved up to AA Akron for his final 21 games of the season. Smaller sample, but he hit .289/.407/.395 (.801). Combined, Lindor hit 22 doubles, seven triples and two home runs. He turned 19 after the season.
THIRD FULL SEASON
Royce Lewis (2020): To be determined. He will turn 21 years old in early June.
Carlos Correa (2015): Correa successfully rehabbed his broken leg and was invited to big league spring training. He began the season at AA where he hit .385/.459/.726 (1.185) in 29 games before being pushed forward to AAA. He spent less time in AAA, just 24 games, and hit .276/.345/.449 (.794). Between AA and AAA, he hit 21 doubles, three triples and ten homers. He was called up to the Astros and made his MLB debut on June 8, 2015 (age 20 years, 259 days). Despite playing just 99 games with the Astros, he won the American League Rookie of the Year after hitting .279 with 21 doubles, a triple and 22 home runs. He turned 21 late in the MLB season.
Francisco Lindor (2014): Lindor began the 2014 season where he ended the 2013 season, at AA. In 88 games, he hit .278/.352/.389 (.741). He ended the season with 38 games at AAA Columbus and hit .273/.307/.388 (.695). Combined, he hit 16 doubles, four triples and 11 home runs. He turned 21 a month after the season completed.
FOURTH FULL SEASON
Royce Lewis (2021): To be determined. He will turn 22 years old in early June.
Carlos Correa (2016): Correa’s first full season with the Astros. As a 21-year-old, he played in 153 games and hit .274 with 36 doubles, 20 homers and 96 RBI.
Francisco Lindor (2015): Lindor began his 2015 at AAA. He played 59 games there and hit .284/.350/.402 (.752) with 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs. Six days after Correa, he was called up and made his MLB debut on June 14, 2015 (age 21 years, 212 days). In 99 games for Cleveland, Lindor hit .313/.353/.482 (.835) with 22 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs. He finished runner up to Correa for Rookie of the Year.
Correa and Lindor have had terrific starts to their careers. They are both in their fourth season in the big leagues now and have established themselves as stars. Correa won that 2015 Rookie of the Year award. He was an All-Star in 2017 and then helped lead the Astros to a World Series title. Lindor has been a three-time All-Star, and won both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. He led Cleveland to the World Series in 2016 when they fell in a tough Game 7 to the Cubs.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Carlos Correa made his MLB debut three years after being drafted, almost to the date. It was in his third full season as a professional. It was especially aggressive considering he missed half of a season with a broken leg. Francisco Lindor debuted almost exactly four years after her was drafted out of high school. It was halfway through his fourth full season.
Obviously Royce Lewis’s debut will not be based on Correa and Lindor’s timeline. It will be based on his progress at each level and the Twins front office’s plan for his arrival, and what they want him to accomplish at least stop along the way.
However, here are some scenarios:
- Correa debuted three months before his 21st birthday. For Lewis, that would be Opening Day 2020.
- Correa debuted approximately three years after his draft day. For Lewis, that would mean mid-June 2020.
- Lindor debuted about four months before he turned 22 years old. For Lewis, that would mean Opening Day 2021.
- Lindor debuted almost exactly four years after he was drafted. For Lewis, that would mean mid-June 2021.
Lewis is in his first full professional season. I’m guessing you noticed that both Lindor and Correa spent their entire first full season in the Midwest League. By season’s end, Lewis will have about 50 games in the Florida State League. We could say the Lewis is about a half-season ahead of Correa and Lindor were at the same stage. Additionally, I’m sure you noticed that the power numbers that Lewis has displayed surpass the power numbers shown by Correa and Lindor. Those two didn’t show much power until they got to the big leagues. There is reason for excitement.
But you’ll notice that Cleveland was a lot more patient with Lindor than Houston was with Correa, especially when you consider that he missed about half a year.
If you want my opinion, I think there is an outside chance, but a chance nonetheless, that Twins fans could see Royce Lewis at Target Field late in the 2019 season. I fully expect the Twins to invite Lewis to big league spring training next year, and I expect that he will make an impression on the coaches. In addition to Lewis’s development offensively and defensively, a call up in 2019 may depend as much on the Twins season and playoff competitiveness.
AGGRESSIVE: July 2019 is very aggressive. Lewis will have just turned 20 and could help the Twins down the stretch.
REALISTIC: June 2020 is probably the most realistic timeline for Lewis.
PATIENT: June 2021 is a patient approach, especially considering how quickly the Twins have moved Lewis to this point, but Francisco Lindor has turned out quite good despite a slower approach.
It is a question I get often. I try to answer in a realistic manner, but I did want to dig into the development timeline of two great young shortstops, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa. While they are just two data points, it gives us something to compare to, something that could be achievable.
So now it’s your turn? When do you think Royce Lewis will be able to make his MLB debut? What do you think the determining factors should be for his promotion?
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