We have been waiting for this moment since late September, the Twins have finally made the first selection in the 2017 MLB Draft, and they have used it to take:
Royce Lewis, Shortstop from J Serra Catholic High School in California.
Lewis is a phenomenal athlete with 70 grade speed that enables him to make plays on the diamond, stretch out extra base hits, and steal bases.
He has compact swing that grades out as above average (55 scale), with slightly below average power (45 scale). Some believe he could hit 15-20 home runs a year when he fills out. He is a decent fielder at shortstop, but may very well end up as a centerfielder, where he will have great range thanks to his speed.
While Lewis is believed to be a money saving pick, it turns out that Brendan McKay was a money saving option who turned down his deal:
I suggested today that Lewis was the guy they wanted and McKay was the money-savings pick.— Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) June 12, 2017
That might not be popular.
Brendan McKay passed on offer made to him by @Twins at 1. Look for Royce Lewis to go 1-1, guessing McKay goes 4 to Rays. @MLBDraft— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 12, 2017
You can check out our prior profile on Lewis here. As far as good points about the pick go, I had this to say:
Lewis is a freakish athlete, with 70-grade (plus-plus) speed and a solid (55) hit tool. With gap power currently, he has some projection on his frame (6’1” 185lbs) and could potentially become an average power hitter in the future. Even if he does not hit for pure power, his speed will allow him to take extra bases. His speed also gives him great range in the field, and he has good fielding ability and an average arm. Even if he does not stick as a shortstop, he should have excellent range and average arm as a center fielder.
Prospect-expert John Sickels of Minor League ball wrote his own breakdown, this this to say about Lewis’s strengths:
Lewis has no weak tools: all of his athletic attributes are at least average. He’s a 60-65 runner and should hold onto that speed as he matures, given how scouts perceive the ease of his actions in the field: Perfect Game refers to him as a “graceful athlete who does everything smoothly.” His instincts work well on the bases, giving him projection as a 20+ stolen base threat, and his range plays well at both shortstop and the outfield.
Many considered Lewis the best position player available in the draft, and compare him to Derek Jeter. Mike Radcliff has said the Twins view him as a future shortstop.
The Twins next selection is the 35th overall selection in Competitive Balance Round A.