Kernels' Lewis has four hits in Class A debut

No. 1 overall pick sets career high in first Midwest League game

Royce Lewis has collected multiple hits in 15 of his first 37 Minor League games. (Andrew Dodson/Cedar Rapids Kernels)

By Michael Avallone / MiLB.com | August 13, 2017 12:19 AM ET

Just 37 games into his professional career, Royce Lewis is already showing a flair for the dramatic. Then again, many would expect nothing less from the first overall pick in June's Draft, who's already flashing star potential.

Lewis singled in his first Midwest League at-bat en route to a career-high four hits as Class A Cedar Rapids rolled past Quad Cities, 9-1, on Saturday night at Perfect Game Field. The 18-year-old also stole a base, scored two runs and plated another. 

Video: Lewis singles in his first at-bat with Cedar Rapids

Lewis batted .271/.390/.414 with 11 extra-base hits, 17 RBIs and 38 runs in 36 games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He homered in his first professional at-bat with the GCL Twins on June 26, just nine days after signing his contract. The Aliso Viejo, California, native was officially promoted to Cedar Rapids on Saturday afternoon.

"He looked good. He looked very good," Kernels hitting coach Brian Dinkelman said. "I thought he might be a little more nervous than he was being that this was his first game here. But from watching him tonight, he has a nice approach and doesn't try to do too much at the plate. He made some solid contact and got a few hits out of the way early." 


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The Twins' top prospect wasted little time making an impact. He lined a single to left on the second pitch out of the leadoff spot. He swiped second, but was picked off there two batters later by Quad Cities' catcher Chuckie Robinson.

MLB.com's No. 31 overall prospect singled to right and scored on Twins No. 10 prospect Lewin Diaz's sacrifice fly in the third and matched his previous career high with his third hit, an RBI knock to right in the fourth. Lewis set a new career best when he went to the opposite field again in the sixth for his fourth single of the game and scored on Jimmy Kerrigan's sacrifice fly. The 6-foot-2, 188-pounder struck out to end the seventh.

Video: Cedar Rapids' Lewis singles for fourth hit

As impressed as Dinkelman was watching Lewis for the first time, his second at-bat -- when he fell behind 0-2 and battled through a nine-pitch sequence -- was particularly noteworthy.

"He fouled off several pitches and then ended up going to right field with it. It was good to see," Dinkelman said. "It's still too early to really get a good feel for him at this stage. But at the same time, he's also the sort of player I expected. When you're talking about a high Draft pick, you figure that the player will have a decent approach at the plate and he certainly does.

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"Hopefully he can continue to do that as we move forward. What I want to see his a continued ability to make adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. That plus adjusting to the grind of playing virtually every day coming straight out of high school. It'll be interesting to see how he responds when things don't necessarily go as well, but I'm not too worried about that."


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Shane Carrier and Kerrigan each went deep and finished with two hits in support of Kernels southpaw Anthony Marzi (4-2), who gave up one run on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts over six innings to win his first game since July 16.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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