We have already talked about the Twins potential to make a deal with their first overall pick, saving money on that first pick (with a slotted value of $7.7 million) so that they could spend more on the 35th ($1.93 million value) and/or 37th pick ($1.84 million value).
There are a number of players who have both legitimate ability and the incentive to make a deal to be taken first overall, where they would get a slightly larger bonus than they would wherever they would be expected to be drafted otherwise. For instance, if the industry expects Royce Lewis to gothird overall to the Padres, where the bonus amount is $6.67 million, the Twins could likely offer around $7 million to Lewis, saving a little more than $700,000. If Lewis is expected to go fifth to the Braves, with a bonus slot of $5.7 million, the Twins could offer $6 million and save $1.7 million to use later. The Twins would use that extra money on a player with the 35th pick and 37th picks, likely high school players who would elect to go to college if not for the extra bonus money.
Royce Lewis is a perfect example to illustrate a potential Twins’ deal, as he is considered one of the top high school athletes in the country, and a legitimate top 10 prospect.
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.
Some scouts have been worried about Lewis’s stock this year. As impressive as he was playing on the travel circuit last summer, he has been inconsistent this spring, lowering expectations on his hit tool, although likely raising expectations for his speed.
Scouts have differing opinions on his arm. Some believe that he has an average arm at shortstop in terms of velocity, but has a long throwing motion that renders his arm weaker than necessary (which could potentially be fixed). Others believe his arm is just too weak for shortstop in terms of velocity and accuracy.
The Phillies selected Micky Moniack first overall last year, and Lewis profiles as a stronger, faster, right-handed version of Moniack, but with a slightly worse hit tool. That is not shabby, and would add depth up the middle for a Twins organization that needs to restock its lower levels.
As a toolsy high school prospect, Lewis fits the draft profile that Thad Levine and Derek Falvey used for their previous organizations—although we have yet see if that history carries over. More importantly, the Twins could potentially sign Lewis below slot value, saving money so that the Twins could sign another top-30 prospect with the 35th pick. Lewis will likely be given every chance to prove he can play shortstop in the pros, and could easily be one of the clubs top 5 prospects if the team decides to call his name first come June.