Royce Lewis has thrived since being selected with the No. 1 overall Draft pick last year, and he's noticed that his success comes when he's having fun on the field. If that sentiment holds true, Friday's doubleheader at Community Field must have been a heck of a time.
The top Twins prospect collected five hits, including four doubles, scored three times and drove in a pair of runs as Class A Cedar Rapids swept a twinbill from Burlington.
"I'm always looking to play in every game, whether it's two in one day, three in one day or one each and every day," Lewis said. "I'm just looking forward to playing at a high level each and every day and working as hard as I can. And today just happened to be a good one."
Game 1 box score
During the Kernels' 7-4 win in the opener, MLB.com's No. 12 overall prospect went 2-for-2 with four productive plate appearances. He extended Cedar Rapids' lead to 2-0 before an out was recorded on a first-inning sacrifice fly to right field.
Lewis picked up another RBI with one out in the second, bouncing a single through the right side, and walked to start the fourth before scoring on Robby Rinn's double to right. His first double of the day came with one out in the sixth on a fly ball to center, and he came home again when second baseman Julio Garcia misplayed a grounder off the bat of Jose Miranda.
"Same approach as usual ... just get a pitch I can drive like I normally do," Lewis said. "Just had some pitches up today and I was able to connect multiple times and it was a lot of fun for me."
The three doubles during the Kernels' 6-3 victory in the nightcap were a career high for the Aliso Viejo, California, native. He flied to center fielder Torii Hunter Jr. in his first at-bat but went to right, center and left for each of his extra-base hits in the third, fifth and seventh innings, respectively.
Game 2 box score
The performance boosted his average to .314, which is second behind Bowling Green's Taylor Walls (.332) among active players in the Midwest League.
Lewis has played both games in all but two of Cedar Rapids' seven doubleheaders. He's on pace to bat over .300 in each of his first four months on the Class A circuit and has recorded multiple hits in 24 of 62 games this season. He's also hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games.
"Just keeping your mindset, your goals, in place and just working as hard as you can and having as much fun as possible for me," the 19-year-old said. "I know, for sure, when I have fun the game just comes a lot easier, no matter how I'm feeling that day or if I'm tired or I'm super-amped and energized."
Listed at 6-foot-2, 188 pounds before the season, Lewis said he believes he's recently finished growing physically and that he's gotten used to moving with his new body while following the same approach that's made him a successful professional.
"I was definitely built for this game and playing all year round," he said. "It's definitely a grind, but I love this grind and, obviously, the numbers show how much I love this game."
Twins No. 10 prospect Akil Baddoo also collected five hits in the doubleheader, including a double in the opener and his eighth homer of the season in the nightcap. Jordan Gore contributed a pair of singles in each game.