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Royce Lewis: Trade Chip?


Cody Pirkl
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I think it's fine to consider Lewis as a trade chip at some point, but right now I wouldn't. I agree with everyone who is looking at him and thinking that we would be selling low on him at this point, and I'm not terribly interested in dealing someone with elite tools like that without getting a serious return, and right now I don't know if we'd get that. I'm sure there are smart teams nosing around looking to see if they can pry Royce loose in a deal for a starting pitcher, but do we really think anyone is looking at him as the centerpiece right now for a legit front-line starter?

Royce Lewis still has great tools, even after the injury, but I'm impressed with his dedication and work ethic. Every report on him this season fighting back from injury was positive and I like guys who have that kind of heart and drive. He's a trade chip because almost every prospect is a trade chip until they make the majors, but I don't see Royce Lewis as being a real trade option this season because we'd be selling low on someone with a massive amount of talent. Think that one would come back to bite us badly.

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Looking at Lewis and Martin, if neither one sticks at SS then they play in the outfield. So Buxton is in CF. That doesn't mean they can't play LF and RF. Looking at the current roster we went last year with a rotation of guys in LF that never really took the position and made it their own and in RF is Kepler who is good defensively but really has turned into a liabaility at the plate. I find it hard to believe that Lewis or Martin would be worse defensively in RF than Kepler and would not be any better offensively. Maybe the outfield of the future, and that future maybe isn't that far away, is Martin, Buxton and Lewis. 

I'd much rather see a Kepler and Sano who are offensive liabilities be traded than up and coming prospects that the Twins have banked on so heavily as part of their future. Kepler and Sano don't look to be that important anymore.

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I'd rather play him as soon as possible at SS to see if he can play there or not.
Twins in 2022—at least so far—have no real starting pitching, so it's not like there's a lot more they can lose by playing a team with a lot of rookies with something to prove on it.

Just do something more for the fans with the $50MM or so they didn't spend this year.

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On 12/11/2021 at 2:59 PM, Doctor Gast said:

I wouldn't trade Lewis in any scenario at this point. Confirming that his present value is well below what his worth to us. Lewis's worth goes beyond his stats, his baseball savvy, his determination, fire and his athleticism are very valuable to the Twins. His ability to be a true SS and CF makes him a true super utility that'll provide much needed depth at these critical positions if he doesn't stick at starting SS. We do need starting pitching and I'd trade any of our top young players except Lewis. IMO Lewis is a player that could stick w/ the Twin throughout his career.

Doc, I hereby nominate this post of yours for one of the top ten posts of 2021. I especially liked your part which mentioned his "determination and fire" being valuable to the Twins. I disagreed with Gardy every time after a loss he would be quoted as saying:: "It's a long season".  The current Twins need some Kirby Puckett positive fire.

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15 hours ago, Fatbat said:

Royce could be an all star in two years. Let the kid play and develop that raw talent!!!

The odds are much better he isn't even in the major leagues in two year, let alone an all star.

In 2019, the last time he has played, he hit .236 in A+ and AA. There is no Front Office in MLB that would even think of starting him as an opening day SS after a major injury and two years off.

With that said I believe he will be better than average MLB player and maybe an all star once or twice.

The harder part is what are the Twins going to do in the minors with Javier, Steer, Palacios, Lewis and Martin, that is 5 (4 if you don't include Steer) for two starting SS jobs (AA and AAA). Which means they have to move Martin or Lewis off of SS right away (I think it will be Martin). So Palacios starts at AAA, Lewis AA, Martin AA in left, Steer at 2nd or 3rd, and Javier still in A+ or in AA with Lewis and him splitting some time, hoping Lewis forces his way to AAA.

Also, I am only trading Lewis if I get three years of control for a pitcher, or two with all signs pointing to a extension. I don't know if in baseball if you are allowed to talk to a player, for example with the Reds where you say to Castillo we will trade for you if take an extension of ....

 

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It has already been noted on these pages that Lewis has a hitch in this swing and cant hit major league pitching. Seeing a we have a plethora of "marginal" fielding SS ( Gordon, Polanco, Lewis, Martin) I'd suggest trading Lewis for pitching.

Arraiz is a one tool player with a bum knee, no speed, no power and a below average fielder. What is the fascination here? Trade him, he is not Tony Gwynn.

Gordon has speed, Martin can hit and the third base prospect we have can also hit.

Bring them up, trade Arraiz, Lewis and dump Donaldson. Signing Story would be nice as well as Nelson Cruz. Donaldson's $23 M salary would go a long way to accomplishing that.

And remember, there is a draft every year and new prospects to be had. Don't forget that Aaron Judge was a 3rd round pick, meaning that every team passed on him not once,  but twice! 

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4 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

The odds are much better he isn't even in the major leagues in two year, let alone an all star.

In 2019, the last time he has played, he hit .236 in A+ and AA. There is no Front Office in MLB that would even think of starting him as an opening day SS after a major injury and two years off.

 

 

That's not true, because he won MVP in the 2019 AFL. Then he raked in spring training with the Twins in 2020, where he played shortstop almost every day. I watched him play ST games in person in spring 2020; it was memorable because he hit two dingers and looked to handle short defensively quite well. Arraez skipped AAA and did pretty well but no one is expecting or hoping Royce starts at short for the Twins this year.  I think he'd be just as good as Gordon though. 

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4 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

The odds are much better he isn't even in the major leagues in two year, let alone an all star.

In 2019, the last time he has played, he hit .236 in A+ and AA. There is no Front Office in MLB that would even think of starting him as an opening day SS after a major injury and two years off.

With that said I believe he will be better than average MLB player and maybe an all star once or twice.

The harder part is what are the Twins going to do in the minors with Javier, Steer, Palacios, Lewis and Martin, that is 5 (4 if you don't include Steer) for two starting SS jobs (AA and AAA). Which means they have to move Martin or Lewis off of SS right away (I think it will be Martin). So Palacios starts at AAA, Lewis AA, Martin AA in left, Steer at 2nd or 3rd, and Javier still in A+ or in AA with Lewis and him splitting some time, hoping Lewis forces his way to AAA.

Also, I am only trading Lewis if I get three years of control for a pitcher, or two with all signs pointing to a extension. I don't know if in baseball if you are allowed to talk to a player, for example with the Reds where you say to Castillo we will trade for you if take an extension of ....

 

Wander Javier as a 22 year old posted an 86 wRC+ in high A for 96 games. He needs to go back to high A or move on.

Steer had a 99 wRC+ AA as a 23 year old - he needs to show more in AA, but has posted strong batting in years prior and could get promoted soon.

Palacios has been floated as a utility player for the Twins, and I would support that.

As I see it, you've got Steer, Lewis, Martin to share SS and 2b, etc between AA and AAA - I don't think it's as much of a log-jam as it appears, but a log-jam is a good thing when you don't really have a starting SS in the bigs right now.

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16 hours ago, dex8425 said:

That's not true, because he won MVP in the 2019 AFL. Then he raked in spring training with the Twins in 2020, where he played shortstop almost every day. I watched him play ST games in person in spring 2020; it was memorable because he hit two dingers and looked to handle short defensively quite well. Arraez skipped AAA and did pretty well but no one is expecting or hoping Royce starts at short for the Twins this year.  I think he'd be just as good as Gordon though. 

Confused as what I said that was not true? Do you think the odds are he is one of the top two or three short stops in the american league in 2023 are better than him starting the season in the minors that year?

He did have a great AFL in 2019 and I believe without Covid he would/could have forced his way up in 2020, but Covid happened and so did his injury. So is there a chance he forces his way up this year yes (that is what I hope happens), but is it more likely he takes time to get back into the swing of things, and it is the next year he forces his way up, probably?

But unless I am reading something wrong, he had 25 at bats, hit .200 1 double,  two homers, 7 K's and no walks in spring training in 2020? and Arraez batting average in the minors is the same as Lewis's OBP.

 

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2 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Confused as what I said that was not true? Do you think the odds are he is one of the top two or three short stops in the american league in 2023 are better than him starting the season in the minors that year?

He did have a great AFL in 2019 and I believe without Covid he would/could have forced his way up in 2020, but Covid happened and so did his injury. So is there a chance he forces his way up this year yes (that is what I hope happens), but is it more likely he takes time to get back into the swing of things, and it is the next year he forces his way up, probably?

But unless I am reading something wrong, he had 25 at bats, hit .200 1 double,  two homers, 7 K's and no walks in spring training in 2020? and Arraez batting average in the minors is the same as Lewis's OBP.

 

Oh, should have been more clear. I was referring to when you said the last time he played was in summer of 2019, which technically isn't true because he played in the AFL and then ST the next year. No, I don't think he's ready, and he may not be a regular until 2023. But he has the dedication and tools to eventually play every day SS in the bigs. His plate discipline and approach is not exactly refined yet but neither was Buxton's until 2020. 

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