The 2017 Major League Baseball Draft is officially in the books. The Minnesota Twins had the first selection and while there were countless speculations of who would they take, they still managed to shake things up. The Twins took Southern California prep shortstop Royce Lewis as the No. 1 overall pick.
The Twins were linked to the likes of Brendan McKay, Kyle Wright, and Mackenzie Gore who were all expected to be drafted as pitchers. However the Twins were free to choose whoever they wanted, and they selected the player with the most tools in the entire class.
Royce Lewis was ranked the No. 5 Draft prospect by MLB.com and the highest ranked position player. The 18-year-old stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 185 pounds, and is an all-around incredible athlete. He’s a line drive hitter who’s still growing into his power and has plus speed that makes him a threat on the basepaths.
He was named the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year in California. Lewis put his abilities on display while playing for JSerra Catholic High School, the same school as Padres catcher Austin Hedges. He was the second straight player out of Southern California to be taken No. 1, following Mickey Moniak.
Lewis is the first No. 1 overall pick by the Twins since 2001 when they selected catcher Joe Mauer. Mauer obviously turned out to be a franchise player for the Twins, and they’re hoping Lewis will do the same.
There really isn’t much not to like about Royce Lewis. While the upside of some of the top ranked pitchers may have been higher, the Twins made a great pick in Lewis. He should develop into a five-tool player and could be the centerpiece of the Twins’ infield for years to come.
Lewis plays well beyond his years, which should help him reach the Majors quicker than most. He just turned 18 years old and should be growing into his power soon. Royce Lewis joins an impressive group of young players in the Twins system, and I for one am excited to see what he develops into.