There were many twists and turns before infielder Royce Lewis (24) wore the Minnesota Twins uniform.
MLB.com, the official website of the Major League Baseball (MLB), said on the 9th (Korean time), ‘Thanks to the strong belief of a long-time local scout, we were able to see Lewis wearing a Minnesota uniform in the American League (AL) Division Series (DS). ‘ he said. Lewis was selected by Minnesota with the first overall pick in the first round of the 2017 rookie draft. According to Baseball Reference, in that year’s rookie draft, three players (Hunter Green, Mackenzie Gore, and Kyle Wright) received contracts worth more than $7 million (KRW 9.4 billion). Lewis wore a Minnesota uniform with a signing bonus of $6.725 million (9.1 billion won).
MLB.com reported, ‘Many variables played a role in Minnesota selecting a high school student from Southern California with the first pick in the first round.’ It was John Leavitt who paid attention to Lewis. Leavitt has been a scout in Minnesota for 30 years and a scout in Southern California for 25 years. He first encountered Lewis at an area code competition and recalled the situation at the time, saying, “I couldn’t take my eyes off Lewis,” and “I believed Lewis would be in the Hall of Fame. I kept saying this.” Leavitt placed Lewis at the top of his recruiting list for several criteria, including his athletic ability. “Every time we saw him, he looked better. Everything was coming together and his swing looked better,” Minnesota scouting director Sean Johnson said.
Ahead of the 2017 rookie draft, most of the team’s leadership changed in Minnesota. In July 2016, general manager Terry Ryan was fired. Johnson shared information with Leavitt and early on selected Lewis as the first overall pick. It’s not that there were no alternative candidates. MLB.com said, ‘In a perfect world, Minnesota management would have made obvious choices such as Stephen Strasburg (1st overall pick in 2009) or Bryce Harper (1st overall pick in 2010) as the first pick in the draft. However, there was no slam dunk in 2017. As the draft date approached, five players were mentioned in the Twins’ plan. “Lewis was not the only candidate mentioned,” he said. In addition to Lewis, the five candidates were fireballer Green, Gore, who was evaluated as the best left-handed pitcher, Brandon McKay, who played as a two-way star at the University of Louisville, and Vanderbilt University ace Wright.
Leavitt’s report, written in June 2017, described Lewis as a “high school right-handed hitting shortstop with elite-level athleticism, excellent bat speed, and an excellent feel for the overall game.” He is expected to be a batsman with impact, technique, and makeup. He will have versatility regardless of position or lineup. He was evaluated as having the potential to be an All-Star shortstop. General Manager Ted Levin personally visited the game that spring and watched Lewis. MLB.com said, ‘At the time, there were mostly rumors that Minnesota wanted a pitcher. Lewis also said he thought his friend Green would get the job. “He always had a good time whenever he met with the Twins and thought everything was going well,” Lewis said.
The final hurdle was the down payment. Lewis’ agent was ‘big man’ Scott Boras. If the player wanted an exorbitantly high amount, joining the team could have been thwarted, but by signing a contract about $1 million (1.4 billion won) lower than the overall first-choice slot money that year, he was able to reduce costs and at the same time have the player he wanted the most.토토사이트
MLB.com said, ‘If Minnesota had chosen a different direction, the first place Lewis would have gone was the San Diego Padres, who had the 3rd pick,’ and ‘If both Lewis and Gore had remained, San Diego likely would have designated a left-handed pitcher (Gore). This is high. Therefore, Lewis could have been selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 4th pick and (otherwise) he would not have passed on to the Atlanta Braves with the 5th pick.’ In fact, the top five in the first round of the draft that year were Lewis (Minnesota), Green (Cincinnati), Gore (San Diego), McKay (Tampa Bay), and Wright (Atlanta).
Lewis grew as the team expected. After working his way through the minor league levels, he made his big league debut last year. He left a strong impression this season, hitting 15 home runs in 58 games. He also has a decent season batting average of 0.309 (239 at-bats, 67 at-bats). His on-base percentage (0.372) and slugging percentage (0.548) are both excellent. In the second game of the AL Wild Card Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, he put the team in the DS with a batting average of 0.333, 2 home runs, and 3 RBIs. He left such a strong impact that the Wild Card Series OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) reached a whopping 1.833. Johnson was thrilled and said, “It was a truly unforgettable moment.”