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What Does the Carlos Correa Signing Mean for Royce Lewis?


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Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, Chipper Jones, Bryce Harper, Joe MauerCarlos CorreaRoyce Lewis. What do all of these players have in common? They were all first overall picks in the MLB Draft. Of this group, there is one Twins legend, one current Twin superstar, and one Twin of the future.

First Overall
Of 56 first overall picks, 48 have reached the major leagues. Of the eight that didn't, four fizzled out, and four are still working their way to the majors. The latter group includes Royce Lewis. Lewis, the first overall selection in the 2017 draft, looked well on his way to the major leagues before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After an incredible Arizona Fall League performance in which Lewis garnered AFL MVP honors, he was named the fifth-best prospect in baseball, behind current superstars Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr. 

But since then, Lewis hasn't appeared in a regular-season professional game. With the 2020 minor league season getting wiped out due to the pandemic, Lewis spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Lewis tore his ACL in February of 2021 after wiping out on the ice in Texas, to make matters worse.

Lewis has completed his ACL rehab and is playing in spring training, where he went 1-for-8 in major league spring training action. Recently, he was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul, where he will presumably be the starting shortstop. From being the MLB.com fifth-best prospect pre-pandemic to their 46th best prospect currently, Lewis will have a lot to prove in St. Paul. There have been many questions about if Lewis can play shortstop at the major-league level, and he will look to regain his status as a top prospect in St. Paul.

A Tale of Two Stories
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Twins have a new shortstop named Carlos Correa. Correa was widely regarded as the best free agent in the 2021-22 free-agent class and is one of the best players in baseball. Since entering the league in 2015, Correa leads all shortstops in WAR (34.1). He is a career .277/.356/.481 (.837) hitter with a flare for the dramatic, as he is tied for the seventh most postseason home runs of all time (18).

Although they were both first overall selections out of high school as shortstops, Correa and Lewis have taken different paths. In June 2022, it will have been five years since the Twins selected Lewis with the first overall pick. Lewis has been through the wringer in his first five years, from showing unbelievable promise to a significant ACL tear setback. In the first five years after Correa was drafted, he won the American League Rookie of the Year, was named an all-star, and in his fifth year, won the World Series. 

Could Adding Correa Help Royce Lewis?
Although Lewis hasn't had Correa's success, he's still an immense talent that could impact the Twins in the next few years. Adding Correa provides mentorship and comfort for Lewis.

Before the Twins inked Correa to a record-breaking deal, their roster's most significant question mark was at shortstop. Were they going to trade for Elvis Andrus? Were they going to sign Trevor Story? Would they play an internal option at shortstop like Nick Gordon, Lewis, or Austin Martin? The Twins chose none of the above and signed one of the best shortstops in baseball.

In Correa's three-year, $105.3 million deal, there are opt-outs after years one and two. These opt-outs will allow Correa to potentially take advantage of the free-agent market in a typical offseason, which doesn't include a three-month lockout. If Correa has a good 2022, he could enter free agency again in search of a larger deal. In this scenario, Lewis would most likely be the Twins shortstop in 2023 if all goes as planned.

Had the Twins not signed Correa, they could have rushed Lewis through Triple A. The Correa signing allows Lewis to be the everyday shortstop in St. Paul for at least the 2022 season, allowing him to reacclimate himself to playing shortstop every day in the minor leagues without the added stress of playing in the big leagues right away. If Correa leaves after 2022, Lewis can take over the shortstop role for the big league club with a higher level of comfort and more experience.

Lewis also may need someone to mentor him and help him through the pressure of being a first overall pick. Correa had high praise when asked about Royce Lewis at his introductory press conference. "He's a special talent; the future is bright for him. He is a hard worker, I love his attitude, and we've built a good relationship in the few days I've been here with him", said Correa.

Final Thoughts
For the Twins, it would be best to extend Carlos Correa and lock down the premier position in baseball for the next five to seven years. But right now, it looks most likely that Correa will be gone in the next year or two, so the Twins must groom Lewis into a major league-caliber shortstop, and who better to do that than Carlos Correa.
 

Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!


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This adds another layer to the fact that so many articles in the last two years said Lewis would not stick at SS - I hope he does.  Where else would he play.  CF is gone.  His value and bat in LF is not very high and lots of posts put Martin there.  Polanco has 2B and 3B is an Urshela, Arraez, Miranda logjam.

For Lewis to succeed as we all hope Correa has to move on - opt out - after this year, but is that what we really want?

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17 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

This adds another layer to the fact that so many articles in the last two years said Lewis would not stick at SS - I hope he does.  Where else would he play.  CF is gone.  His value and bat in LF is not very high and lots of posts put Martin there.  Polanco has 2B and 3B is an Urshela, Arraez, Miranda logjam.

For Lewis to succeed as we all hope Correa has to move on - opt out - after this year, but is that what we really want?

I have him pegged for RF if he can't stick at SS. Not sure why his value and bat in LF is not very high, though? You'd prefer him as a 5-tool, up the middle player, but a 5-tool corner OFer is still awfully valuable.

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58 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

I have him pegged for RF if he can't stick at SS. Not sure why his value and bat in LF is not very high, though? You'd prefer him as a 5-tool, up the middle player, but a 5-tool corner OFer is still awfully valuable.

The profile of a corner OF has more power than we are seeing from Lewis - at this point he has speed.  The other tools are not there for us to see yet.  It depends upon his development, but nothing the Twins have done leads me to think corner OF at this point.  

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1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

This adds another layer to the fact that so many articles in the last two years said Lewis would not stick at SS - I hope he does.  Where else would he play.  CF is gone.  His value and bat in LF is not very high and lots of posts put Martin there.  Polanco has 2B and 3B is an Urshela, Arraez, Miranda logjam.

For Lewis to succeed as we all hope Correa has to move on - opt out - after this year, but is that what we really want?

If his bat plays at MLB level they will find a place for him to play.  If he needs to move to OF, or push his way into 3B and push them somewhere.  There are many guys that could have played SS but others were better so they took other positions. It is not like if Lewis is MLB ready he will sit in minors because other guys can play the position too.  If he is the best player at the position he will play. 

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29 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

The profile of a corner OF has more power than we are seeing from Lewis - at this point he has speed.  The other tools are not there for us to see yet.  It depends upon his development, but nothing the Twins have done leads me to think corner OF at this point.  

Then Martin being pegged in LF should be far more upsetting than Lewis. Martin is far less likely to hit for power than Lewis. The hope with Lewis is a 5-tool player in the mold of Byron Buxton. That projects anywhere on the field, but you prefer them up the middle to fully take advantage. Now if you don't think Lewis hits his ceiling it's a different conversation. But the type of prospect Lewis is and the kind of player the Twins are hoping he becomes is one that profiles anywhere on the field. They hope he's AFL MVP Lewis that slugged .565 with 12 XBH in 22 games.

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This is the very reason why I think Lewis is such an important piece for this team.  He's athletic enough to play anywhere.  He'd be an obvious guy to slide into an injury opening at CF or SS.  He's one of those guys that you find a spot to play him.

That's all assuming he pans out, obviously.  But he can be a game changer for this organization if he does.

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This acquition of Correa only enhances Lewis future due to his mentorship and taking off the pressure of having to right away step up and produce. Now he can progress on his own time.

I agree with Correa that Lewis is a special talent, not only the tangible 5 tool talents but also the intangible talents he has to succeed.

Right now we pretty shallow in depth behind the starting key positions SS, CF and catching. We need Lewis, Martin, Celestino and Godoy to add to the quality MLB ready depth and we shouldn't even think about trading them but look at ways to increase our depth there.

We have an over abundance at the corner fielders and 2B, that's where we need look to trade from. Even at pitching we could look at other than.

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Both Martin and Lewis are expected to be good with their bats, feet, and gloves. I'll take Lewis in RF and Martin in LF if they play great defense along with decent on base and batting average skills. A power hitting outfielder that cannot catch the ball in the gap or run down a ball down the line hurts the team. I would never compare any player, ever, to Ricky Henderson who played LF. A reason that Kepler has a long rope in RF is his defense and speed. Hopefully he rebounds with his bat this year. There is always a place to put an athletic player who hits, runs, and plays defense. Lewis and Martin just need to prove themselves to get their shot.

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Everything is temporary. If Lewis is in the majors before September this year I hope Lanarch and Celestino have talked to him about playing above your level. It would also mean bad things have happened. Next year is next year. Things have a way of sorting themselves out. Never forget Correa is a Boras client. 

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2 minutes ago, old nurse said:

Everything is temporary. If Lewis is in the majors before September this year I hope Lanarch and Celestino have talked to him about playing above your level. It would also mean bad things have happened. Next year is next year. Things have a way of sorting themselves out. Never forget Correa is a Boras client. 

Why does Lewis debuting before September mean bad things happened and he's playing above his level? Why can't it be that he came out hitting like he did the last time he was on a professional field in the AFL and he overtook players on the Twins roster and earned his spot?

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

Why does Lewis debuting before September mean bad things happened and he's playing above his level? Why can't it be that he came out hitting like he did the last time he was on a professional field in the AFL and he overtook players on the Twins roster and earned his spot?

If you count the other 560 PA in 2019, Lewis has a ways to go. Making a judgement on the AFL stats alone would be like making a judgment on his spring training at bats this year.  

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13 minutes ago, old nurse said:

If you count the other 560 PA in 2019, Lewis has a ways to go. Making a judgement on the AFL stats alone would be like making a judgment on his spring training at bats this year.  

And using those 560 PA in 2019 only assumes he made no progress in 2020. I'm simply stating that there's a reasonable chance that he's progressed and could progress more in the next couple months and surpass the current options in LF and RF without anything bad happening. 

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How does this mentorship play out when they only have a week or two in spring training?  Do the Saint's players actively interact with the Twins players at their position on a regular basis during the season?

I do not think Carlos will be as big of a help to Royce as others believe unless they are both on the Twins at the same time.

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3 hours ago, Bigfork Twins Guy said:

How does this mentorship play out when they only have a week or two in spring training?  Do the Saint's players actively interact with the Twins players at their position on a regular basis during the season?

I do not think Carlos will be as big of a help to Royce as others believe unless they are both on the Twins at the same time.

I'm sure with the Twins and Saints facilities being so close to each other, Royce and Carlos will interact on a somewhat regular basis. They could interact over the phone, it will just be nice for Royce to have someone who was also a number one pick and plays shortstop that he can talk to

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5 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

And using those 560 PA in 2019 only assumes he made no progress in 2020. I'm simply stating that there's a reasonable chance that he's progressed and could progress more in the next couple months and surpass the current options in LF and RF without anything bad happening. 

He hasn’t played real baseball in 2 1/2 years and outside of the AFL he hasn’t hit above low A ball. Hopefully he used the downtime to train out some bad habits and train in some good ones. It’s still reasonable to expect a full season to establish himself and make adjustments. Players don’t improve just because time passed and they aged. 

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12 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

This adds another layer to the fact that so many articles in the last two years said Lewis would not stick at SS - I hope he does.  Where else would he play.  CF is gone.  His value and bat in LF is not very high and lots of posts put Martin there.  Polanco has 2B and 3B is an Urshela, Arraez, Miranda logjam.

For Lewis to succeed as we all hope Correa has to move on - opt out - after this year, but is that what we really want?

I don't think it really matters what we want.  If Correa stays it's almost certainly because he got hurt or had a really bad year.

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14 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

Then Martin being pegged in LF should be far more upsetting than Lewis. Martin is far less likely to hit for power than Lewis. The hope with Lewis is a 5-tool player in the mold of Byron Buxton. That projects anywhere on the field, but you prefer them up the middle to fully take advantage. Now if you don't think Lewis hits his ceiling it's a different conversation. But the type of prospect Lewis is and the kind of player the Twins are hoping he becomes is one that profiles anywhere on the field. They hope he's AFL MVP Lewis that slugged .565 with 12 XBH in 22 games.

On your way of thinking, based off of a one part of a season statistic Jose Miranda also slugged at .563 at a higher level of baseball with a better rate of XBH of 41 in 81 games than Lewis did in the AFL. Why would one not advocate for the player with more XBH per game?  Sabato had 11 XBH in 21 games with a better slugging percentage of 613. Put him out there. Then there is Matt Wallner with a 606 slugging percentage. Old Royce better not get too comfortable out there, Wallner is going to come for him. I sure hope people are not so naive to believe Correa is here for the long haul.  Lewis may need to be the shortstop of the future more than the LF of the future. I don't think Wallner nor Miranda are SS material, but could do fine in the OF. 

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9 hours ago, Taildragger8791 said:

He hasn’t played real baseball in 2 1/2 years and outside of the AFL he hasn’t hit above low A ball. Hopefully he used the downtime to train out some bad habits and train in some good ones. It’s still reasonable to expect a full season to establish himself and make adjustments. Players don’t improve just because time passed and they aged. 

The alternate site wasn't real games, but it was real baseball. If he spent the entire time there not working on things I'd think the Twins would've traded him knowing he's never going to turn out if he wasn't even willing to work on things there. He spent an entire year with coaches reworking his swing (as shown by his leg kick being far less pronounced this spring) and working on his fielding. If they watched him that entire season and saw no progress they should've traded him for anything they could get.

And I didn't say, or suggest, that players simply improve just because time passed and they aged either. The original comment I responded to said the only reason he'd be up before September is if bad things were happening. Akil Baddoo hadn't played real ball in basically 2 years and was terrible in the last season he played before being claimed in the rule 5 last year and he was successful. I'm simply stating that it's entirely reasonable that a prospect of Lewis' caliber could progress during an entire year with professional coaches doing nothing but working with him every single day on the struggles he'd faced and could get his footing quite quickly in the minors this year and be up in a month or 2 because he's earned it. 

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3 hours ago, Prince William said:

On your way of thinking, based off of a one part of a season statistic Jose Miranda also slugged at .563 at a higher level of baseball with a better rate of XBH of 41 in 81 games than Lewis did in the AFL. Why would one not advocate for the player with more XBH per game?  Sabato had 11 XBH in 21 games with a better slugging percentage of 613. Put him out there. Then there is Matt Wallner with a 606 slugging percentage. Old Royce better not get too comfortable out there, Wallner is going to come for him. I sure hope people are not so naive to believe Correa is here for the long haul.  Lewis may need to be the shortstop of the future more than the LF of the future. I don't think Wallner nor Miranda are SS material, but could do fine in the OF. 

You didn't describe my way of thinking at all. In fact you described the opposite of what I was saying. I never said they should move Lewis off SS to a corner OF spot if he was capable of playing SS. My quote was "I have him pegged for RF IF HE CAN'T STICK AT SS." I also said he's best served playing an up the middle position if he reaches his ceiling as you get more out of him up the middle than on the corner. You're not even arguing against anything at all that I've said. 

My point about his slugging was that the other poster's stance of Lewis not hitting for enough power to play a corner was incorrect. Lewis is projected to hit for power. Miranda and Sabato are IFers and have no future as corner OFers so I'm not sure why you'd even bring them up beyond you arguing against something I wasn't even saying. Wallner is projected as a cOFer, but he will never have the speed or glove of Lewis so he'd need to hit drastically better than Lewis to earn a spot over him. 

Lewis is the best hope for a SS of the future who is close to MLB ready. Nobody is arguing that. That's why I said "if he can't stick at SS." If he can't stick at SS because of his glove, but still hits, he's more than capable of playing any OF spot because of his speed and athleticism. In fact we saw him play CF very well in the AFL. Correa is leaving after this season, but that doesn't mean Lewis is automatically the SS in 2023. I hope people are not so naïve to believe that you have to play Lewis at SS in 2023 just because Correa leaves and the team couldn't bring in a different SS if Lewis proves uncapable of sticking there.

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Correa is hopefully a one yr rental....the shorter his contract the better for the team.  (he over performs and opts out for a long term deal, somewhere else)......if we see all three years (means he did not exceed contract) so this buys the Twins a one year window to get Lewis MLB ready.  

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The Twins absolutely need to be more athletic going forward. Fly balls that drop and line drives just out of the reach of slow defenders (of/if) are really discouraging for a pitcher and often force changes to increase strikeouts. 

Royce Lewis and Austin Martin are both athletic and profile as decent defenders in the outfield or at 2B/3B. The jury is out on their abilities to play shortstop. If they can hit, they will play. Jose Miranda must scare the Twins in the field because he looks more dangerous with the bat right now than either Urshela or Arraez. There are very few prospects who have years as dominant at the plate than Miranda had last year. It is only his athleticism in the field that stops him from being given the third base job. Lewis and Martin will not face those questions in the field. Hopefully they will hit.

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It is all up to Lewis. He has a couple of years (maybe) to claim the starting shortstop job. He is not blocked, as one would think Correa would walk away after a year.

 

If Correa stays a second year (or third) Lewis can still get experience by being on the bench.

 

More than likel;y Lewis starts at AA, depending on what the Twins do with Palacios, Martin and Beckham, all who are pegged to be in St. Paul. Lewis will be able to work on shortstop skills in Wichita. If he doesn't pan out, a position change.

 

Remember, Kepler could also be expendable. Yes, the Twins will be looking closely at Larnach and Miranda as future parts of the Twins.

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1 hour ago, Rosterman said:

It is all up to Lewis. He has a couple of years (maybe) to claim the starting shortstop job. He is not blocked, as one would think Correa would walk away after a year.

 

If Correa stays a second year (or third) Lewis can still get experience by being on the bench.

 

More than likel;y Lewis starts at AA, depending on what the Twins do with Palacios, Martin and Beckham, all who are pegged to be in St. Paul. Lewis will be able to work on shortstop skills in Wichita. If he doesn't pan out, a position change.

 

Remember, Kepler could also be expendable. Yes, the Twins will be looking closely at Larnach and Miranda as future parts of the Twins.

Lewis was optioned to AAA St. Paul on March 26th. He's going to play SS there every day.

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22 hours ago, Bigfork Twins Guy said:

How does this mentorship play out when they only have a week or two in spring training? 

Communication is easier than ever now.  Build a good relationship in person during several weeks in the Spring, and you can stay in touch by text or Zoom or whatnot and have it be nearly the same for several months, to a degree that wouldn't be nearly as beneficial without those first weeks.

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13 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

You didn't describe my way of thinking at all. In fact you described the opposite of what I was saying. I never said they should move Lewis off SS to a corner OF spot if he was capable of playing SS. My quote was "I have him pegged for RF IF HE CAN'T STICK AT SS." I also said he's best served playing an up the middle position if he reaches his ceiling as you get more out of him up the middle than on the corner. You're not even arguing against anything at all that I've said. 

My point about his slugging was that the other poster's stance of Lewis not hitting for enough power to play a corner was incorrect. Lewis is projected to hit for power. Miranda and Sabato are IFers and have no future as corner OFers so I'm not sure why you'd even bring them up beyond you arguing against something I wasn't even saying. Wallner is projected as a cOFer, but he will never have the speed or glove of Lewis so he'd need to hit drastically better than Lewis to earn a spot over him. 

Lewis is the best hope for a SS of the future who is close to MLB ready. Nobody is arguing that. That's why I said "if he can't stick at SS." If he can't stick at SS because of his glove, but still hits, he's more than capable of playing any OF spot because of his speed and athleticism. In fact we saw him play CF very well in the AFL. Correa is leaving after this season, but that doesn't mean Lewis is automatically the SS in 2023. I hope people are not so naïve to believe that you have to play Lewis at SS in 2023 just because Correa leaves and the team couldn't bring in a different SS if Lewis proves uncapable of sticking there.

Other than being drafted 1sr overall, Lewis has done nothing to indicate he's a major league anything. Certainly not someone you open a spot for. He has a .740 career minor league OPS. A handful of AFL ABs doesn't change that.

He has time to develop. But he's not looked anything like a potential plus big leaguer so far.

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