Written by Mark Nikolov Photo by MLB.com
I remember watching the 2017 MLB Draft live online and thinking that Hunter Greene or Brendan McKay would go number one overall. Apparently the Twins were strongly considering McKay but, in a late decision, they went with Royce Lewis. I was somewhat surprised but mostly intrigued. After doing some research it became clear to me why Minnesota couldn’t pass on Lewis. It’s always good to have a plan but the Twins have shown that spontaneity can also pay off.
In 2016 Lewis made quite a name for himself by taking home the MVP award at the Under Armour All-American Game in Chicago. He followed that up with another MVP performance at the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego. He impressed every single MLB scout in the country with those two performances.
Royce continued to impress scouts in his senior year at JSerra Catholic High School in California, where he hit .388 with 4 HR, 35 R and 25 SB. He also had an astounding on-base percentage of .569. After the season Lewis was selected as the Gatorade California player of the year for his accomplishments on the field.
Lewis has been outstanding since joining the Twins organization. In Rookie Ball he hit .271 with 15 SB and 3 HR in 36 games. He continued to show extraordinary patience at the plate with a .390 on-base percentage. Royce got the call to Single-A in the middle of August and continued to shine. In his first game with the Cedar Rapids Kernels he went 4-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. After playing 18 games with the Kernels Lewis finished with a .296 BA, .363 OBP, 3 SB, 1 HR and 10 RBIs.
Aside from being one of the most polished 18 year old baseball players on the planet, Royce is genuinely a nice guy. Recently I wrote him a letter congratulating him on his success and he sent me back a personalized autograph! It was the first time I had ever written a ball player and I didn’t expect to get anything back. I was so excited! It goes without saying that I am already a huge fan of his and it’s going to be great watching him further develop in the minors.