The Minnesota Twins' top prospect Royce Lewis split his 2019 season between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola. After a 2018 that saw him put up impressive numbers across the board, 2019 represented the 20-year-old’s first struggles in professional baseball.
With his season extended an additional 22 games, Lewis got in 149 contests, or essentially a full major league slate. The competition is fierce in the Arizona Fall League, but the California native held his own en route to a league MVP.
As has been customary on teams Lewis plays on, a championship was the culmination of all the hard work for the Salt River squad. Contributing two hits in the trophy clinching victory, Lewis ended on the same high note he’d played at throughout the fall slate.
Still fresh with emotion and reflection following the action, I caught up with the 2017 draft pick to check in.
Twins Daily: After dealing with somewhat of a frustrating season, how excited were you to get a reset in Arizona and have a chance to showcase your ability against some of the best prospects in baseball?
Royce Lewis: I was more excited for the multitude of reps I would be getting against some of the most dominant pitchers.
TD: With the Fall League being composed of talent from multiple levels, how did you feel it stacked up against what you saw at Pensacola this year? Was it a step up or did it feel somewhat like an All-Star team collection of talent?
RL: It felt like I was playing in a Futures Stars game each and every day!
TD: What do you feel like you can attribute the level of success you saw in the Fall League to? An MVP is incredibly impressive. How were you able to continue a high level of production against that level of talent, through the entire schedule.
RL: I was able to be more consistent and get hits with runners in scoring position. I consistently put myself in the right situations, in the right counts, and at the right times.
TD: A few different outlets have touched on your swing. It’s one of the smoothest to the ball, but the main talking point is your leg kick. Have the Twins tweaked it at all, or do you feel like it will need to evolve as you continue towards the majors?
RL: They (the Twins) started to begin to making adjustments in the beginning of the season and in the second half let me go back to being more like myself. You can always evolve, no matter how good you are, in every attribute in every skill of the game so I think everyone is always making adjustments and minor tweaks!
TD: Now with something like 9 months of baseball behind you in 2019, how would you define and categorize your season? What were you proud of and where do you want to work on adjusting for 2020?
RL: It was a great season of ascension and growth. I was proud of my ability to stay healthy and in shape. As usual continue working on all parts of my game to be better each and every day.
TD: Looking at just your experience in Arizona, what’s something you feel like you can take away and utilize specifically to help your game reach the next level?
RL: I enjoyed showcasing my ability to play multiple positions on the field, like fellow teammate Luis Arraez.
TD: With Spring Training 2020 a few months out, what are you looking forward to providing some relaxation this offseason? Obviously, you’ll have plenty of baseball activities to get you ready for the year ahead, but what is 20-year-old Royce looking forward to off the field?
RL: Fantasy football, sleeping in without an alarm, and eating the house down!!!
Lewis will almost assuredly begin 2020 at Double-A Pensacola, but as with any elite prospect, the stop in Triple-A could be an abbreviated one. The Twins should be the favorites to repeat in the AL Central Division, and adding a talent like Lewis down the stretch may provide quite the boost to a team already poised to be very good.