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Arizona Fall League Roundup: Royce Lewis, Fall League MVP

The Twins’ top prospect earned some major prospect cred this fall

West Fall Stars v. East Fall Stars Photo by Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Arizona Fall League has now come to an end, with the Salt River Rafters taking home the league championship. The Twins’ delegation played for the Rafters this season, so that title was certainly thanks to the Twins prospects, and one in particular.

Royce Lewis

A phenomenal Arizona Fall League helped Lewis put a lackluster 2019 far behind him. He was the AFL All Star Game MVP, the overall MVP of the league, and also led the league in hits with 30.

In 22 games overall, the top prospect in the Twins system hit .353/.411/.565 with nine doubles, three homers, and a 22/9 K/BB ratio along with five steals in six attempts. He technically “cooled off” a bit in the last stretch of the season but still hit .324/.390/.405 in his last ten games.

While he struck out a lot, he also hit great, took a good number of walks, and was the catalyst type of player for the Rafters we hope he can be for the Twins in the near future.

He didn’t play shortstop a single game for the Rafters, instead splitting most of his time between center field and third base with a game or two spent at second. Grooming Lewis to be a solid super utility player will give the Twins value in the long run and there is still a chance he starts 2020 at shortstop for the Blue Wahoos. After such a great fall performance, he might not be there long.

Luke Raley

Raley struggled through the first half of the Fall League, hitting just .163/.246/.265 with 3 doubles and a triple along with a 15/2 K/BB ratio through his first 14 games. He absolutely turned it on after the All Star Game, hitting .333/.400/.639 with 3 homers in his last ten games and ended with a relatively impressive line of .244/.312/.439.

Raley is a guy who is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this off season. He has legitimate power potential, and is a potential plus outfield defender in the corners while potentially providing better defense than Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade Jr. would in center. Raley can also pick it at first base. That sort of flexibility and potential may make Raley worth keeping after a hot final week in the fall league.

Ben Rortvedt

Rortvedt ended up injured in the fall league, only playing four games total and none after the All Star Game.

Dakota Chalmers

Chalmers pitched 7.2 innings in the second half of the fall league, giving up 5 earned runs but striking out 8 while walking only two. In all he ended with a 5.09 ERA with a 25/12 K/BB ratio in 17.2 innings.

Chalmers still needs to work on that control and a third pitch, but it was good to see him get more innings after missing lots of time since 2017.

Zach Neff

Neff was the Twins’ best pitcher in the Fall League, hands down. In 13 innings he managed a 1.38 ERA with a 12/1 K/BB ratio.

He will be 24 for all of next season but stands a shot to make it to Rochester if he continues to succeed.

Jovani Moran

Moran struggled in his final three games in the fall league, giving up 5 earned runs in three innings while walking 4 and striking out 3.

He ends the fall with a 14/12 K/BB ratio in 9 innings with a 7.00 ERA. Moran is eligible for the Rule 5 draft and I think the Twins would hate for him to become the next Nick Anderson.

Moises Gomez

Gomez also struggled in his last few appearances of the fall, giving up 4 earned runs in his last 4 innings with a 4/4 K/BB ratio (all 4 walks in his last appearance). A 6.55 ERA with a 15/9 K/BB ratio in 11 innings is far from spectacular.

Still, Gomez got in some good experience and will have the chance to move up quickly if his regular season success continues.

Thoughts

The Twins obviously had a goal in mind for each of the players they sent to the Arizona Fall League. The two most important were the rebound of Royce Lewis and the continued rehab of Luke Raley. I’d say they were 2 for 2 with those, which is huge.

Lewis is still the Twins best prospect and having success against other high end prospects after a down year is incredibly important for his stock as a prospect but his growth as a player overall.

Raley easily could have been the Twins 4th outfielder down the stretch over LaMonte Wade Jr. had he never broke his ankle. Getting him reps to shake off the rust and get back in gear for 2019 is huge, even if we end up trading him for value before the deadline to put him on our 40-man roster.

On the pitching side of things we didn’t see too much, although getting Chalmers innings of any kind is very important and I like what we saw out of Zach Neff, who could easily move up the ladder as a lefty reliever with impressive results.