Age: 21 (DOB: 6-5-1999)
2020 Stats: Played at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul.
2020 Ranking: #1
National Top 100 Rankings
What’s To Like
Royce Lewis remains the best athlete in the Twins minor leagues. Even after adding 20 pounds of muscle an offseason ago, he was able to maintain his speed. He also has a ton of power potential.
Here is a home run last summer at Target Field off of former MLB pitcher Casey Lawrence.
On the bases, he has good instincts and the great speed to take extra bases.
Defensively, there are questions, but at shortstop he has quickness and range, and he’s got a strong arm. He also could provide versatility and help the Twins at a number of positions. He played a lot of third base in high school and has plenty of arm to play there. He could play second base. A lot of experts think he would be a plus-plus defensive centerfielder because of his speed and instincts. The Twins continued to play him exclusively at shortstop last summer in St. Paul.
What’s Left To Work On
2019 was a tough season offensively for Lewis. Between Ft. Myers and Pensacola, he hit just .236 and had an on-base percentage just shy of .300. He struck out three times more often than he walked. While few question his power potential, he will have to work on controlling the strike zone better. At times he gets a little pull-happy and should find more hits by using the right side of the diamond as well.
There are questions about his leg kick still and if he can be a solid all-around hitter with it. And you can see from the video below that there was a lot of movement with his hands in early 2019. You can also see the bat speed and power potential.
Missing out on 600 plate appearances in 2020 didn’t help, so he will just need to get as many reps and plate appearances as possible in 2021.
The same can be said on defense where he has the tools and range and arm, but he needs more reps. Consistency will be important for him. He can make all the plays, but sometimes he misses the routine plays.
As mentioned, after a missed 2020 season, Lewis just needs to get reps. He needs to get a lot of plate appearances. He needs to get a lot of reps at shortstop. Sure, he got work in St. Paul last summer, but it’s hard to replicate in-game experiences and opportunities.
In my opinion, I think it would be wise to have him play a game a week in center field, and maybe a game a week at third base. Lewis could be big-league ready by midseason, and there may be a need at another position at that time. Wouldn’t hurt to get some time and experience at those other spots for just-in-case. The Twins, with their moves this offseason, have shown that they value versatility.
It is very possible that we could see Lewis debut in 2021. Their signing of Andrelton Simmons to just a one-year contract indicates that the team would like to see Lewis ready to take the shortstop job in 2022. Lewis says he’s looking forward to learning from Simmons.
Lewis at 4:38:30 mark discusses his thoughts on the Twins signing of Simmons.
And many years down the line, maybe a career in TV. He was an excellent guest on a Twins Spotlight episode last week, spending about 45 minutes answering questions from listeners.