Twins promote top prospect Lewis to Kernels

No. 1 overall pick of 2017 Draft set to make non-complex debut

Royce Lewis logged three home runs, two triples and six doubles over his first 133 professional at-bats. (William Parmeter/

By Josh Jackson / | August 12, 2017 1:00 PM ET

After 36 games of rookie ball, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 Draft is moving on up to the Midwest League.

Minnesota promoted its top prospect, Royce Lewis, from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins to the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels on Saturday, and the 18-year-old shortstop will be activated for Saturday's game against Quad Cities at 6:35 p.m. CT.

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The product of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, batted .271/.390/.414 with 11 extra-base hits and 15 steals through his first professional assignment. He is the first high school first-rounder from this year's Draft and second player taken in the top 10 picks (after Atlanta's Kyle Wright, selected fifth overall out of Vanderbilt) to receive a promotion to a full-season level.

The 6-foot-2 teenager drew national headlines when he homered in his first pro at-bat on June 26, and he's gone yard twice since.

"So far I feel like I've handled it very well," he said after his debut at the Twins' complex in Fort Myers, Florida. "I'm very blessed to be in this position and to have a chance to play at this type of level and higher levels in the future."

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Lewis, the No. 31 overall prospect, features speed that rates a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, according to MLB Pipeline. He draws praise for his athleticism, and although his arm may push him to move away from shortstop at the highest levels of pro ball, it's widely agreed he also profiles as a strong center fielder.

Over 125 total chances at short in the GCL, he was charged with four errors for a .968 fielding percentage, and he began a triple play on July 12.

When he takes the field for Cedar Rapids, he'll become the first No. 1 overall pick to play for the Kernels, according to the team.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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