The Twins promoting Lewis to the Midwest League is something that hasn't been done in dozens of years, at least.
The last #1 overall pick, Joe Mauer, spent the 2001 season (his draft year) with Elizabethton before spending the entire 2002 season in the Midwest League.
Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios started their pro careers (2012) in the GCL, as Lewis has, before being promoted to Elizabethton.
Back in 2006, Chris Parmelee (first round) and Joe Benson (second round) began their pro careers in the GCL. When that season ended, they were promoted to the Kernels to play in their playoff series.
The Kernels will be in the 2017 playoffs thanks to their strong first half.
Lewis has been slumping of late, but few question his immense athleticism, talent and baseball acumen.
In 36 games in the GCL, 18-year-old Royce Lewis has hit .271/.390/.414 (.803) with six doubles, two triples and three home runs. He also has 15 stolen bases.
A month ago, GCL Twins manager Ramon Borrega told Pioneer Press's Mike Berardino that he thought Lewis should be promoted directly to the Kernels.
“When I had Buxton, I said, ‘Why are we keeping this guy? He needs to go somewhere,’ ” Borrego said. “It’s the same thing with Lewis. It’s the same case. I said, ‘Hey, get ready to get him out of here.’ He’s been dominating the league. The way he’s been playing, you say, ‘Wow. This kid doesn’t need to be here.’ That kid’s ready to go play in CR right now.”
The timing, however, is interesting. In July, Lewis hit .321/.412/.464 (.877). However, in 33 at-bats so far in August, Lewis has just four hits. He's hit .121/.341/.182 (.523). As you can see, despite the lack of hits, he's still taking walks (9) and getting on base, and once he does that, he has the ability to steal a lot of bases.
This is definitely an aggressive move for the Twins, but Lewis seems to have the makeup. It will be fun to watch.
This continues an aggressive trend. Supplemental first-round pick Brent Rooker was promoted from Elizabethton to Ft. Myers a few weeks ago. Lewis becomes the fourth member of the 2017 Twins draft to join the Kernels. Fourth-round pick Charlie Barnes and eight-round pick Bryan Sammons, both left-handed pitchers, joined the Kernels in recent weeks. They are both in the Cedar Rapids rotation. Days after, infielder Jordan Gore was also called up to the Kernels.
By the way, have we mentioned that Cedar Rapids is just a 4 to 4 1/2 hour drive from the Twin Cities?
Also, here is a first look of Kernels infielder Royce Lewis in his #30 uniform...