Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien were both selected as finalist for the Rookie of the Year award. The duo combined to help the Minnesota Twins win the division, each contributed to the team in their own special ways that have fans hyped about what the future holds.
Julien, a Quebec City native, was an absolute revelation for the Twins this year. Prior to the start of the season Julien represented Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic before starting his professional season in St. Paul — although it didn’t take long for him to get the call to the Majors.
He made his MLB debut against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field in April, and didn’t look back from there. Not long after his debut, Julien and the Twins put up a whopping nine runs in the first inning at Yankee Stadium, a place that has been a house of horrors for the Twins in the past. The rookie not only collected his first MLB hit in the first inning but crossed off another significant milestone with his first career home run as well.
"You kind of have pressure to get the first one out of the way, and then right after [that hit], just go get a homer, I couldn't write a better script. It was an unforgettable moment," Julien said after the game. It was a moment made even more special knowing that Julien had at least 20 friends and family in attendance at Yankee Stadium to watch him.
When all was said and done, Julien finished the season with a .263 average, 37 RBI and 16 home runs as well as a .381 on-base-percentage.
Julien also had a strong postseason for the Twins, posting a .294 batting average with two home runs along with a .455 OBP. While there is never a guarantee of a roster spot in the MLB, it appears that after this season Julien will have a spot in the Twins lineup for many years to come.
For as great as it was to watch Julien soar this past season, it’s hard to argue against the most exciting rookie for the Twins being Royce Lewis. He returned in May a year after tearing his ACL for a second time, and went on to deliver on just about every ounce of promise he’s shown since being the top pick back in 2017.
While it was the second time Lewis has debuted with the Twins, it was like he never left in the first place. In his first game back, he hit a home run and in the ninth inning hit a game tying single at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
It is not every day that a player returns from a year on the injured list and provides this much production for a team. The game-tying single came off Astros closer Ryan Pressley, who is one of the better relievers in the game. However, this was just the start of a historic season for Royce Lewis.
Many teams go all season without hitting four grand slams, but not the Twins. Lewis mashed four grand slams between his return to the team and the end of the year, giving fans a healthy dose of what the future might hold.
Lewis became known as Mr. Grand Slam, and while the season did not finish the way he wanted outside of the grand slams' impressive numbers were put up all around. In 217 at-bats Lewis posted a .309 average with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs. He even found a way to steal six bases.
The Twins had a few other newcomers with impressive seasons, but Julien and Lewis stood out and were nominated Rookie of the Year.