The Minnesota Twins staged a draft-night surprise on Monday, selecting dynamic California prep shortstop Royce Lewis with the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
Lewis, who starred at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, emerged as the Twins’ choice in the final hours before the draft, as they apparently struck a more slot-friendly deal with Lewis. It was expected the club would draft Louisville two-way star Brendan McKay, but apparently McKay’s asking price exceeded what the Twins were willing to allocate from their bonus pool.
Lewis has top notch athleticism, as he has been clocked running the 60-yard dash in 6.64 seconds. On top of that, his power is expected to blossom and complement his ability to hit for average.
Lewis was among a quintet widely expected to go in the top five picks, but it’s not believed he ever worked out for the Twins in Minnesota, unlike another prep star, Hunter Greene. Lewis may grow out of shortstop, but clubs are comfortable slotting his tools in center field, as well.
The Cincinnati Reds did not hesitate to nab Greene, whose two-way ability has commanded national attention, with the second overall pick. Greene, whose fastball is clocked at 100 mph, just missed becoming the first prep right-hander to go No. 1 overall. While he has elite power at shortstop, he's expected to pitch for Cincinnati.
Here is a look at the first round draft order:
1. Minnesota Twins (Pick value: $7,770,700)
Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) HS
Comment: Has showcased the ability to play both middle infield spots, as well as in the outfield. Known for his athleticism, has been clocked running the 60-yard dash in 6.64 seconds.
2. Cincinnati Reds (Pick value: $7,193,200)
Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame High (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
Comment: Highest drafted African American since Byron Buxton was taken second overall by the Twins in 2012. Another two-way standout, but a fastball that has been clocked at 100 mph will probably land him on the mound.
3. San Diego Padres (Pick value: $6,668,100)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (Pick value: $6,153,600)
5. Atlanta Braves (Pick value: $5,707,300)
6. Oakland Athletics (Pick value: $5,303,000)
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (Pick value: $5,016,300)
8. Philadelphia Phillies (Pick value: $4,780,400)
9. Milwaukee Brewers (Pick value: $4,570,000)
10. Los Angeles Angels (Pick value: $4,376,800)
11. Chicago White Sox (Pick value: $4,199,200)
12. Pittsburgh Pirates (Pick value: $4,032,000)
13. Miami Marlins (Pick value: $3,875,800)
14. Kansas City Royals (Pick value: $3,727,600)
15. Houston Astros (Pick value: $3,588,200)
16. New York Yankees (Pick value: $3,458,600)
17. Seattle Mariners (Pick value: $3,333,200)
18. Detroit Tigers (Pick value: $3,214,600)
19. San Francisco Giants (Pick value: $3,101,700)
20. New York Mets (Pick value: $2,994,500)
21. Baltimore Orioles (Pick value: $2,892,400)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (Pick value: $2,795,200)
23. Los Angeles Dodgers (Pick value: $2,702,700)
24. Boston Red Sox (Pick value: $2,614,500)
25. Washington Nationals (Pick value: $2,530,400)
26. Texas Rangers (Pick value: $2,450,100)
27. Chicago Cubs (Pick value: $2,373,300)
28. Toronto Blue Jays (From Cleveland for Edwin Encarnacion. Pick value: $2,302,900)
29. Texas Rangers (From Colorado for Ian Desmond. Pick value: $2,238,900)
30. Chicago Cubs (From St. Louis for Dexter Fowler. Pick value: $2,184,300)