Welcome To The Show – Royce Lewis

The very first player selected in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, Lewis has had an up and down journey in his path through the minors. After being named the top selection by the Minnesota Twins, Lewis combined to hit .279/.381/.407 across Single A and Rookie ball. Heading into the 2018 season on the heels of his 54 game debut, the JSerra Catholic High School product was ranked #24 by Baseball America, #20 by MLB, and #27 by Baseball Prospectus. Although his on base percentage dropped slightly, the increase to his batting average and slugging percentage made Lewis a consensus top ten prospect for 2019. The native of Aliso Viejo, California began the 2019 season at the High A level but failed to keep up the levels of production he was accustomed to. Even so, after 94 games with the Fort Meyers Miracles Lewis was promoted to Double A but still continued to struggle. The shortstop’s numbers regressed with each promotion and so did his rankings. Heading into the 2020 season Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus dropped Team USA member back into the twenties, while MLB had him just inside the top ten.

For a former number one overall pick, Lewis’ first Bowman Chrome autograph cards appear to have good value. His card from the 2017 Bowman Draft set has averaged $113.75 dating back to mid-June. Compared against the prices of 2020 first overall pick Spencer Torkelson, that seems like a steal. On the other hand, that value may seem high for a player that has shown diminishing returns with each step up. Collectors are balancing this high risk/high return quandary by staying put. There were very few sales of 2017 Bowman Draft #CDA-RL in 2020. Over the last half of the year there were only ten sales of the raw, base version. The good news for those collectors that have acquired Lewis’ first licensed appearance is that even though the 6’2″ 200 lbs. right hander has struggled, he still has progressed quickly through the Twins farm system. Entering the 2021 season at just twenty-one years old, there is still a good deal of time to develop into a capable of major league player. Scouts write that he is highly athletic with a good chance to become an above average defensive shortstop. That may be welcome news to Twins fans but I don’t see it playing out well in the hobby. Even if Lewis does turn into an elite defender, I don’t think he’ll get much recognition from collectors if he doesn’t perform at the plate.

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