The number one pick in the 2017 draft finally got his time in the spotlight and he took full advantage of the chance.
Royce Lewis, one of the most celebrated prospects in all of the Majors, got called up to the big leagues and made his Minnesota Twins debut on May 6th against the Athletics recording his first career hit in the team’s 2-1 win.
Just six games later, Lewis knocked his first big league dinger over the left field wall for a grand slam to cap off a nine-run fifth inning that helped the Twins topple the Guardians, 12-8.
Royce Lewis’s first career home run is a grand slam! pic.twitter.com/pi3Yvapt1A
— MLB (@MLB) May 14, 2022
Lewis’ journey to the big leagues has been a rollercoaster. After being picked right out of JSerra High School in Southern California where he earned several highly acclaimed awards, he was placed on the Gulf Coast League Twins of the Rookie-level class of the minors. It took him just two months to get promoted to Single-A.
During his 2018 campaign in the minors, Lewis ended up getting promoted to High-A and was named the 10th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com. In 2019, he was named the fifth-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com, and was invited to 2019 Future’s Game, as well as getting promoted to Double-A ball.
After his pandemic-erased 2020 season, early 2021 seemed as though everything was getting back to normal and Lewis would make his jump to the bigs, but the talented prospect ended up tearing his ACL, effectively ending his season before it even began.
By the time Lewis recovered, he hadn’t played baseball for two years, but as soon as he came back, he hit the ground running. Lewis started the season off in Triple-A, and it looked like he didn’t lose a step. In 24 games, he batted .310, with three home runs, and 11 RBI, with an on-base percentage of .430, and a slugging percentage of .563, earning him the call.
In the 11 games that he suited up for the Twins, he was able to post a .308 batting average, with two home runs, five RBI, a .325 on-base percentage, and a .564 slugging percentage.
Even with the hot start, Lewis was sent back down to Triple-A last Wednesday — a move that has been widely criticized throughout Major LEague Baseball. The reason was due to the return of their star shortstop Carlos Correa from the injured list. The Twins signed Correa to a 3-year contract. The player Lewis said on draft night that he wants to model his shortstop game after is the one who is expected to be the Twins starting shortstop for the foreseeable future.
Lewis played both shortstop and outfield in high school. But the Twins, who lead the AL Central, classified him as a shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Lewis hit .377 with four homers and 25 stolen bases for JSerra, establishing himself as a top prospect with excellent speed and a solid bat.
The question now is where does that leave Lewis? Will he be moved to second base or possibly the outfield? Or, could he be used as a trade asset if the Twins try to make a push? Either way, whatever ends up happening to Lewis, he has a bright future ahead of him.