Royce Lewis wasted no time showing why the Twins made him the No. 1 overall pick in this year's MLB Draft.The 18-year-old shortstop made his Minor League debut in the Gulf Coast League on Monday, and he launched a solo home run in his first professional at-bat. Batting second for
Royce Lewis wasted no time showing why the Twins made him the No. 1 overall pick in this year's MLB Draft.
The 18-year-old shortstop made his Minor League debut in the Gulf Coast League on Monday, and he launched a solo home run in his first professional at-bat. Batting second for the GCL Twins, Lewis finished the game 2-for-4 with the homer in a 5-2 win over the GCL Orioles.
"It was awesome," Lewis told MiLB.com. "You work so hard and finally become a player in the Minors, and it's a great start to your professional career. Rounding the bases, it felt amazing. [I was] not nervous. I was just looking to drive a ball, looking to hit the ball hard, stay up the middle and it felt like I did that today."
Lewis said his new teammates already gave him a nickname as he returned to the dugout following the homer, which traveled to left-center field.
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"They were saying, 'That's awesome bro, congrats, so excited for you, so happy for you,'" Lewis said. "They called me 'The Kid.' They said, 'The Kid's back at it again.'"
Minnesota selected Lewis with the top pick in the Draft earlier this month out of JSerra Catholic High School in California. Rated the No. 5 prospect available in the Draft by MLBPipeline.com, Lewis is an elite athlete -- who can also play the outfield, although the Twins see him as a shortstop -- with arguably the best all-around package of tools of any draftee.
"We're so excited to have him as part of the organization," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said after drafting Lewis. "Royce was a guy we targeted all spring. It's someone we knew would be considered as far back as last summer. We got to know him very deeply, and he'll be a big part of our future."
Lewis received a $6.725 million signing bonus and was officially introduced at Target Field on June 17. He's starting his career in the GCL but is expected to see time with Rookie-level Elizabethton in the Appalachian League.
"So far, I feel like I've handled it very well," Lewis said. "I'm very blessed to be in this position and to have a chance to play at this type of level and higher levels in the future."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.