Lewis an 'electricity' boost in first stint with Twins

No. 1 prospect clubs second homer in 11 games with big league club

May 18th, 2022

OAKLAND -- Twins shortstop left a strong final impression in his first stint in the Majors.

The team’s No.1 prospect per MLB Pipeline homered, doubled, and made an outstanding play in the field in the Twins' 5-2 loss to the A's on Tuesday night.

Following the game, manager Rocco Baldelli said that Lewis would be optioned back to Triple-A St. Paul to make room for star shortstop Carlos Correa, who will be activated from the injured list, where he's been since May 10 (retroactive to May 6), after suffering a sprained right thumb.

“There’s electricity in that bat for a wiry guy, but besides all that, the way he played shortstop is what impressed me the most,” Baldelli said of Lewis. “He was a guy that when the ball was hit at him, we knew those guys were going to be out.”

Lewis, who made his Major League debut on May 6, hit safely in 9 of 11 games, with four doubles and two homers. That includes a grand slam on Friday against the Guardians, which earned him a curtain call at Target Field.

“This was an opportunity that he grabbed on to,” Baldelli said. “And I think it lays a beautiful foundation for him, on which he’ll hopefully build a really good Major League career. That’s the way I see it happening.”

Lewis hit .308/.325/.564 and committed two errors while filling in for Correa, who was put on the 10-day injured list after getting hit by a pitch against Baltimore. The Twins went 6-5 during Correa’s absence.

“[Lewis] is going to go back to St. Paul, and he’ll be ready when the next opportunity comes up,” Baldelli said. “That young man is not going to stop working, he’s not going to be any less motivated, I don’t see him changing one bit. He’ll be ready to play in his first game back in St. Paul, and he’ll be ready for us when we need him the next time around. He’s a good-looking player.”

Baldelli said that Lewis will still play mostly at shortstop in Triple-A, despite the presence of Correa, who is in the first year of a three-year, $105.3 million contract.

“We may move him around a little bit to get him exposure at different spots, because the last thing we would want to do is send him around the field to play in places where he’s literally never played a game,” Baldelli said. “You can do that at times, but bouncing him all around right now is not the best way to prepare him for this level.”

Hitting in the seventh spot Tuesday night, Lewis got Minnesota’s first hit of the game when he doubled to lead off the third inning against James Kaprielian. He then put the Twins on the board by homering on an 0-2 pitch from Kaprielian leading off the fifth.

He also showed his defensive prowess in the sixth, sliding to field a grounder hit by Cristian Pache and retiring the speedy outfielder on a quick throw to first base.

“He was fantastic at this level,” Baldelli said.

Still, Baldelli said the decision to send Lewis down wasn’t difficult, considering it means the return of Correa, who is hitting .255/.320/.372 with 12 runs and 11 RBIs in 24 games.

“We’re adding one of the best players in the game back to play shortstop for us every day,” Baldelli said. “That’s pretty nice to be able to write Carlos’ name back in the lineup tomorrow, and we’re very pleased to be doing that. And I have no doubt that Royce is going to have a lot of nice moments for us going forward. We could be seeing that sooner than later, who knows.”