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One Prospect That Can Fill the Royce Lewis Void


Twins Daily Contributor

Before being injured, Royce Lewis was being used in a multi-position role at Triple-A. With Lewis out of the picture for 2022, one prospect might be stepping up to fill the void.

Depth is vital to any roster trying to stay in contention throughout a 162-game season. Organizations adopt a next-man-up mentality as injuries or poor performance push other players out of the picture. Minnesota has seen this occur multiple times this season, and another player might be ready to step into a second-half role. 

The Twins selected Spencer Steer in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of the University of Oregon. He immediately impacted the organization as he hit .280/.385/.424 (.809) in 64 games between rookie ball and Low-A. Defensively, he played over 120 innings at shortstop, third base, and second base, and it looked like the 2020 season was going to be vital for his development as a prospect. Unfortunately, no minor league games were played that season and Steer didn’t get a plate appearance in his age-22 season. 

As the 2021 season began, the Twins had Steer start the year at High-A, where he was slightly older than the average age of the competition. He posted a .915 OPS in 45 games before being called up to Double-A, where his OPS dropped by over 140 points. Steer accumulated 45 extra-base hits in 110 games which was quite the jump from the power numbers he posted during his collegiate career. Signs pointed to Steer adjusting as a professional, but few predicted what was coming in 2022. 

Steer headed back to Double-A to begin this season, and he destroyed the ball. In 35 games, he hit .307/.385/.591 (.976) with 22 extra-base hits and a 23-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota promoted him to Triple-A, and unlike the 2021 season, he didn’t miss a beat with the change in competition. Since joining the Saints, Steer has a .907 OPS with six doubles and 11 home runs in 28 games. He is 2.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A, and he has faced older pitchers in 74% of his at-bats. His succeeding on the doorstep to the big leagues, so a call-up is not out of the question. 

Connecting back to Lewis, Steer is a powerful right-handed bat with the defensive flexibility to play multiple infield positions. Unlike Lewis, Steer has been playing multiple defensive positions throughout his professional career, so there isn’t a learning curve involved with his transition. During the 2022 season, Steer has played over 100 innings at every infield position besides first base. The Twins have other players ahead of Steer on the current depth chart, but one injury may result in the team needing a replacement. 

During the 2021 season, Twins fans watched as Jose Miranda had one of the best minor league seasons in franchise history. At Double- and Triple-A, he posted a .973 OPS with 30 doubles and 32 home runs in 127 games. It seemed like Miranda earned a late-season call-up, but he wasn’t on the 40-man roster, and the Twins didn’t see a reason to rush him. Steer faces the same hurdle as he isn’t on the 40-man roster, and the team isn’t required to move him quickly. 

Steer isn’t considered the same prospect type as Lewis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help a contending team. There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and Steer has moved his name into the conversation as one of the organization’s best prospects. 

Do you think Steer will make his debut in 2022? Can he help fill the void left by Lewis? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


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The Twins seem to be doing a better job of identifying and developing talent. Pick 90s rarely make the majors. Only 2 signed from that slot have more than 1 career WAR. Luis Gonzalez (51.6) and Sean Rodriguez (9.0). Cal Raleigh of the Mariners will be the 3rd. It isn’t much different with players picked 89 and 91. Steer is almost certain to be a major leaguer? It isn’t just Speer, Miranda was picked 74th and looks to be a capable major league starter.

Speer and Miranda should give us confidence that the Twins can afford trade of prospects at the deadline. If they have a system that is among the better at identifying and developing talent than we can expect them to refill that pipeline from within.

 

 

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23 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

His value might be as the starting SS next year until Lewis is ready to go.

I have been wondering how they will use Steer and if he is adequate to play SS for 1/2 a year.  Palacios has been hitting better since his brief call-up.  He definitely has what it takes to play SS.  This will be interesting to watch the remainder of the year.

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1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

As this year's Miranda, he has really blossomed and looks ready, but remember that they did not bring up Miranda last year so probably won't bring up Steer this year - especially because there is no urgency unless an injury or a trade happens. 

I agree.  I think the Twins are dealing with enough youth at the MLB level as it is and unless there are more season ending injuries who do you replace on the 26 man for him?  There is no room right now without letting someone else go.  Unless a lot of bad things happen I just don't see Steer as an option for this year.  He does have to be added for next season and if he continues to be as good as he has been he will get his chances next year.

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Twins minors seem to be getting very loaded up with talented multi-positional players with youth and pop! The future looks pretty bright right now. With the number of injuries and re-injuries the call ups that the Twins have made the last couple of years have really served the organization very well. Plus, it provides the fans with some early peeks at what may be to come! Go Twins!

Twins Geezer.... out!

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

I have been wondering how they will use him and if he is adequate to play SS for 1/2 a year.  Palacios has been hitting better since his brief call-up.  He definitely has what it takes to play SS.  This will be interesting to watch the remainder of the year.

I love seeing when a rookie (like Palacios or even Sands) is called up, struggles, is sent back down, but then dominates or improves at AAA.  The taste of big league pitching/hitting combined with the big league players and coaches seems to jolt some of them out of AAA doldrums and get them focused again.  (Doesn't always mean long-term success at MLB level still, but fun to see.)


The 40 and 26 man rosters seems really full...especially when considering some of the IL or 60 day IL players.  I really hope they can get Steer up at some point though, potentially for 3B.

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Whoa sports fans!! Stop the rush!! Miranda can hit fastballs. Still lost on curveballs! And in the field? Definitely not ready. Twins pulled Miranda in close at first last week to cut down a runner at home. Ball was hit right to him. He took two steps toward first then threw home. Runner safe!! That is baseball 101. Catch and throw. And not one young Twin can play the fence. Leave these guys down to get their training time in!!

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2 hours ago, HrbieFan said:

How is his D at 3B and SS? Mentions he has played those spots, but nothing about D metrics 

I do not know about 3b specifically, but SS he did not grade out too great in few games he did play in the minors from the little research I did.  I was planning on writing something similar about Steer being a possible stop gap until Lewis is ready to play again, assuming Correa opts out.  However, after I did some research he seems a bit limited at SS and in the minors he is not playing there over lessor possible prospects, which to me signals team does not see him as a fit at SS but only an emergency situations. 

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Steer is scouted with average speed and an unimpressive arm, neither of which bodes well for him covering shortstop. Still, Steer has played a handful of games at short this year, but the underlying numbers are pretty awful. Tough to say how the Twins view his potential to cover the position, even in a pinch.

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9 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Steer is scouted with average speed and an unimpressive arm, neither of which bodes well for him covering shortstop. Still, Steer has played a handful of games at short this year, but the underlying numbers are pretty awful. Tough to say how the Twins view his potential to cover the position, even in a pinch.

To me, it's Miranda vs. Steer. Neither is a major league SS. Steer plays 2B and 3B. Miranda plays 1B and 3B (Twins play Arraez at 2B and Miranda at 1B at times. Therefore, it appears Miranda will play 2B only in emergencies).

Batting - Miranda's start at AAA was actually better than Steer's as far as batting average. It seems they are on the same pace for HR's. Miranda started very slow for the Twins but has adjusted well since. I give the edge to Miranda.

Fielding - I think Miranda was an okay fielder in AAA at 3B and will end up okay in the majors in the end as well. Is Steer better? If the unimpressive arm is correct and he can't play 3B in the majors , probably not. If that's incorrect, he probably is.

Speed - Is Steer faster than Miranda? One of Miranda's biggest shortcomings is speed. A mistake like he made on the safety squeeze yesterday becomes an out because he had to guess about the bunt in the first place and couldn't get back fast enough after that, both due to his lack of speed.

Good problem to have both of them. Sure enjoyed seeing them move up through the organization.

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I didn’t hear positive reports about his power either. Young players can be developed. If the Twins thought it was a possibility they would be investing fore than 3 of 29 starts into shortstop. Unless something changes where he plays shortstop regularly I don’t think we can think filling in for Lewis to start next season is a possibility. 

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44 minutes ago, Steve Lein said:

Steer is an emergency option at SS on an MLB team, but he's very capable everywhere else in the infield. Had a nice play at third last night:

 

Steers arm looks pretty dang good to me there, but I timed it at 1.18-1.21 sec. Assuming the throw was 90 feet (a little inside 3rd, but a little back), that's only 50mph average. In the video below at 0:09 Machado makes a similar plant/throw, but probably more like 100 feet and I timed it at 0.98-1.01 sec. That's 70mph average. Machado makes another play at 0:25 from maybe 110 feet at 1.27-1.30sec, right about 59mph average. Essentially, Steer's arm is no where close to as good as the top arms at 3B. See 1:01 where Arenado makes a 100 foot throw in 1.58sec from his knees, just a tick slower than Steer's planted throw.
 

 

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1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

Steers arm looks pretty dang good to me there, but I timed it at 1.18-1.21 sec. Assuming the throw was 90 feet (a little inside 3rd, but a little back), that's only 50mph average. In the video below at 0:09 Machado makes a similar plant/throw, but probably more like 100 feet and I timed it at 0.98-1.01 sec. That's 70mph average. Machado makes another play at 0:25 from maybe 110 feet at 1.27-1.30sec, right about 59mph average. Essentially, Steer's arm is no where close to as good as the top arms at 3B. See 1:01 where Arenado makes a 100 foot throw in 1.58sec from his knees, just a tick slower than Steer's planted throw.
 

 

This is just not accurate analysis. Yes Steer does not have the arm of Machado or Arenado. But your analysis is just plain wrong and very misleading.

It reminds me of this great video showing how video analysis between plays (in this case pitch speed) can be so misleading. Generally if not done very methodically, it will be no more accurate than just a flat out guess.

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3 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Steers arm looks pretty dang good to me there, but I timed it at 1.18-1.21 sec. Assuming the throw was 90 feet (a little inside 3rd, but a little back), that's only 50mph average. In the video below at 0:09 Machado makes a similar plant/throw, but probably more like 100 feet and I timed it at 0.98-1.01 sec. That's 70mph average. Machado makes another play at 0:25 from maybe 110 feet at 1.27-1.30sec, right about 59mph average. Essentially, Steer's arm is no where close to as good as the top arms at 3B. See 1:01 where Arenado makes a 100 foot throw in 1.58sec from his knees, just a tick slower than Steer's planted throw.

Yeah, that throw is more like 130+ feet, not 90. Because, geometry. A straight path from third base to first base is off the top of my head, a few feet over 125.

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6 hours ago, Steve Lein said:

Yeah, that throw is more like 130+ feet, not 90. Because, geometry. A straight path from third base to first base is off the top of my head, a few feet over 125.

My bad, you're absolutely right. I thought those throwing speeds looked stupid low, lol. Since the bases are actually square rather than a diamond, the hypotenuse is going to be a^2 + b^2 = c^2 or 8100 + 8100 = c^(1/2) = 127ft, give or take because of the base width.

Steer throwing 125 ft / 1.18 / 1.47 = 72mph
Machado throwing 135 ft / 0.98 / 1.47 = 94mph
Machado throwing 145 ft / 1.27 = 78mph
Arenado throwing from knees 135 ft / 1.58 / 1.47  = 58mph

Steer 72mph vs. Machado 94mph on essentially the same throw. MLB SS's should be in the mid/upper 80s.

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8 hours ago, MILB Truther said:

This is just not accurate analysis. Yes Steer does not have the arm of Machado or Arenado. But your analysis is just plain wrong and very misleading.

It reminds me of this great video showing how video analysis between plays (in this case pitch speed) can be so misleading. Generally if not done very methodically, it will be no more accurate than just a flat out guess.

Dude, same throw, same distance, same leverage, one throw took significantly longer. Scouting reports also say Steer doesn't have the arm for SS and question him at 3B.

My math was hosed because I wasn't using the hypotenuse like I should have been using (as if 2nd base didn't even exist...), but it was hosed in essentially the same way for everybody. I am NOT using frame rates because that wouldn't be a good idea as they may not be reliable due to file compression which Mr. Expert you linked to isn't accounting for. In addition, we're not talking about an approximate 55 foot throw here, it's over double that so the margin for error decreases.

I timed the throws 3 times each until I got 3 nearly identical times.

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10 hours ago, bean5302 said:

My bad, you're absolutely right. I thought those throwing speeds looked stupid low, lol. Since the bases are actually square rather than a diamond, the hypotenuse is going to be a^2 + b^2 = c^2 or 8100 + 8100 = c^(1/2) = 127ft, give or take because of the base width.

Steer throwing 125 ft / 1.18 / 1.47 = 72mph
Machado throwing 135 ft / 0.98 / 1.47 = 94mph
Machado throwing 145 ft / 1.27 = 78mph
Arenado throwing from knees 135 ft / 1.58 / 1.47  = 58mph

Steer 72mph vs. Machado 94mph on essentially the same throw. MLB SS's should be in the mid/upper 80s.

I appreciate the insight and work.

I do wonder if it makes a difference that Steer got the out and the velocity on that throw was sufficient. Do the brains of infielders and muscle memory help gauge the velocity necessary for a throw upon seeing a runner? Was his max velocity necessary on that play?

I also wonder about the mechanics of the timing you chose. Did you time it similar to a catcher pop time so that the timing begins upon the touch of the glove? Is the foot and hand work necessary to get in position to throw taken into account?

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5 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

Who is to say that was Steer's max velocity?  Perhaps he recognized the needed velocity and threw accordingly.  Math is rarely the failure in analysis.  It's faulty assumptions that devalue this type of conclusion.

How did he recognize the velocity needed while being unable to see the runner on what was obviously going to be a close play no matter how strong the arm? Must be some wicked good precognition skills. I didn't see his magic grade in the scouting reports. Must be 80 grade.

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2 hours ago, jorgenswest said:

I appreciate the insight and work.

I do wonder if it makes a difference that Steer got the out and the velocity on that throw was sufficient. Do the brains of infielders and muscle memory help gauge the velocity necessary for a throw upon seeing a runner? Was his max velocity necessary on that play?

I also wonder about the mechanics of the timing you chose. Did you time it similar to a catcher pop time so that the timing begins upon the touch of the glove? Is the foot and hand work necessary to get in position to throw taken into account?

I'm not looking for Steer's max velocity in a vacuum. I'm primarily looking to compare Steer to his peers. The timing I chose was the instant at which it felt (because I cannot physically see it) the ball left his hand to the instant at which the ball hit the glove (which I also cannot see) in real time. The same way you'd time a sprinter with a stopwatch or an umpire would make a safe/out call. I repeated the process until I had 3 nearly identical times, which was usually just 3 times.

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