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Twins prospect Lewis breaks down baserunning

@JonathanMayo
March 25, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Everyone knows Twins No. 1 prospect Royce Lewis is fast. That’s why he has a 70 run grade on his Prospect Watch report and one reason why he swiped 28 bases in his first full season of pro ball in 2018. • Twins' Top 30 |

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Everyone knows Twins No. 1 prospect Royce Lewis is fast. That’s why he has a 70 run grade on his Prospect Watch report and one reason why he swiped 28 bases in his first full season of pro ball in 2018.

Twins' Top 30 | Twins prospects' Spring Training stats | Twins prospects at ST

But one can not steal bases on speed alone, and if anyone has ever met the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, they would know Lewis will never be the type to rest only on natural physical ability. He’s going to work at his craft to give him the best chance to succeed on the basepaths. Lewis has been successful on better than 80 percent of the time thus far in his relatively brief pro career, and a lot of that has come because of prep time he puts in before and after games.

It’s important for any basestealer at first to get a good lead. Lewis explains that some of it depends on how a pitcher goes into his stretch that will determine how large a lead he can get. Then, he wants to make sure he has good footwork to maximize his jump.

While Lewis clearly enjoys the cat-and-mouse game with the pitcher and wants whoever is on the mound to think he is going to try to steal at any moment, he doesn’t want to give away his intentions. He’s worked to quiet his actions down so he isn’t tipping off his plans.

Things get a little different once Lewis is at second base. Yes, it’s an easier throw for a catcher to make, but Lewis actually thinks it’s easier to steal third because of how the pitcher usually responds to a runner in scoring position.

As Lewis moves up the ladder, pitchers will invariably get more savvy at holding runners at second and will vary what they do. He discovered pitchers in the Florida State League were better at keeping him close than those in the Midwest League. That’s where the video work he does really comes in handy.

While eyeing third as a potential basestealer, Lewis also has to keep in mind what he needs to do as a baserunner if a teammate gets a hit. Getting the right angle to round third can be challenging if he’s taking a lead that would help him steal the base.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.