Royce Lewis

Position: SS
Level: High A
Affiliate: Ft. Myers Miracle
League: Florida State League
Born: 06/05/1999 (Age: 25)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 200
B/T: Right / Right
Acquired: 1st Rd. (#1 Overall), 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft (MIN)

Prospect Spotlight

The #1 overall pick in 2017 from the SoCal prep ranks, Lewis proved far too advanced for the Midwest League in 2018—no small feat for a teenager in his first full year of pro ball. He’s had a rougher go since moving up to High-A around the middle of last season, though he just turned 20-years-old and is still very young for the level. Lewis’ immense physical gifts still jump off the page in game action, something that was clear across my four-game look.

Lewis’ 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame has more strength and size than most players with his speed. There’s still room to get stronger, though this body type can stay at a center-diamond position even with physical gains. That strength shows up in BP, where Lewis generates impressive raw power for a shortstop because of an extremely loose, whippy swing. Though he hasn’t fully unlocked it in game action—it’s also worth noting the FSL has huge parks and suppresses almost every player’s home run totals—he projects for at least average game power with plenty of doubles. He has struck out at a career-high clip so far in 2019, though he’s facing advanced pitching consistently for the first time in his pro career and definitely shows the long-term tools to hit. Lewis expanded the zone and swung through breaking stuff in my viewing, often struggling to shorten up when behind in counts. His batspeed and natural hand-eye coordination are so good, some of the current over-aggression stems from being used to barrel everything as opposed to any uncorrectable long-term flaw. You’re projecting on improved selectivity and a more patient overall approach, though with those changes made, Lewis can develop into an above-average hit/on-base producer.

Some scouts felt he would have to move from SS to CF when Lewis came out of high school. There’s a non-zero chance that switch still happens, though I came away feeling he should get more time to develop as an infielder. He can get hard-handed at times, staying upright and fielding balls off to the side. Like his offensive development, lots of Lewis’ present lack of fundamentals can be chalked up to being talented enough that he hasn’t, to date, had to do things correctly in order to get desired results. Lewis has a plus arm with effortless carry, finishing numerous plays from the deep hole throughout the series.

Patience, not panic, is the best way to characterize Lewis as a prospect right now. He still shows the same unique five-tool potential and excellent intangibles that made him a top-of-the-draft talent. One of the best prospects in baseball—ranking #4 overall on our Pre-Season Top 125—Lewis’ upside as a franchise player and long-term building block in Minnesota remains unchanged.