Ranking the Minnesota Twins First Round Picks of the Last Decade
By Kasey Kuhrts
Number 4: Minnesota Twins select Royce Lewis 1st Overall in 2017
With the first pick in the 2017 draft, the Minnesota Twins elected to go with Royce Lewis, the high school shortstop from California. In a draft where high school players went first, second, and third, the Twins are still wondering if they made the right selection.
Lewis reported to the GCL Twins after signing his contract and played 36 games in Florida before finishing the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Lewis started the 2018 season again in Cedar Rapids, but after hitting .315 in 75 games, Royce found himself back in Florida after being promoted to Fort Myers of the FSL. Lewis played 46 games in the FSL in 2018, hitting .255 with five home runs and 21 RBI’s.
Until 2019, Lewis had faced little adversity since becoming a professional, but 2019 was a struggle for Lewis.
He started the season once again in Fort Myers, and played 94 games with them. His average dropped to .238, and he struck out more times in those 94 games than he did in the 121 the season before.
However, he was promoted to AA after those 94 games, and played the final 33 in Pensacola. He hit .231 in those games, only recording 31 hits, with 33 strikeouts. In total for Lewis in 2019, he struck out 123 times in 127 games, which ended up being one more strikeout than he had hits.
Which brings us to 2020, Lewis was probably going to start the season again in AA. His very underwhelming 2019 season was behind him, and 2020 was going to be the year Lewis showed the organization if he was a future star, or a mistake.
Lewis did play in 10 of the Twins spring training games in 2020, where he went 5-25 with a double, two home runs, but seven strikeouts.
As a bored college kid in the summer, I went and watched Lewis’ first career professional game in the GCL. Me and my buddy were the only two spectators in the stadium, and when I say only two, I mean only two. There wasn’t even workers to let you in the gate, it was just open. But it was 100 degrees in the Florida heat.
The point I am trying to make, before the game Royce signed autographs for us, and was really nice. I wish the guy nothing but the best, but I hope the Twins don’t try and rush his development.