What are the Twins doing with Royce Lewis? That’s the question fans are asking after waking up Wednesday to news that the team’s top prospect was sent down to Triple-A St. Paul despite making a brilliant first impression in the big leagues.
If it wasn’t obvious before, it should be crystal clear now that the Twins don’t care what fans want and they sure as heck aren’t going to base any decisions on the desires of fans who
pack scatter about Target Field to watch the first-place ball club.
Lewis doubled and homered Tuesday night to continue a torrid stretch where five of his last nine hits have been doubles or homers. In 11 games since debuting May 6, he hit .308/.325/.564 with two homers – including a grand slam – four doubles and five RBIs while hitting safely in nine of 11 games.
That deserves a demotion. There were no other options, apparently.
Twins fans understand that Carlos Correa returning from injury pushes Lewis from shortstop, but the curious nature of the decision is fueled by the fact that the Twins are keeping Jose Miranda over Lewis.
Quick stat check: Miranda is hitting .096/.130/.192 and has five hits in 54 at-bats.
Miranda plays third base and first base. Maybe Lewis wouldn’t be as good defensively at third or first, but isn’t a minimal sacrifice on defense in exchange for his hitting prowess worth it?
It’s not just the optics that are bad here. It’s the logic.
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Even if Lewis only played as frequently as Miranda, just five games a week, it would be more valuable to keep him over Miranda and sacrifice whatever benefit Lewis might get playing every day in the minors.
Why take the expressway to greatness when the scenic route is available?
The Lewis decision comes just days after the Twins publicized their 100-game plan for Byron Buxton, who is apparently struggling with right-knee soreness linked to his slide into second base April 15 in Boston.
That means that if you have tickets to a Twins game and hope to see Buxton play, there’s a decent chance you’ll see Gilbert Celestino instead. Do the math. There are 125 games left in the season. Buxton has played 24 so far. If he only gets to 100, that means he’d play in just 76 of the final 125, which statistically gives him a 39.2% of having the day off. Very scenic route-y.
Keeping Lewis up combined with Buxton’s schedule would fit pretty good considering Lewis can play centerfield. And the Twins could’ve kept Lewis’ bat in the lineup while playing third, first or DH on the days Buxton does start in center. Oh, and getting to see Lewis on days when Buxton is off is a nice consolation prize for the ticket-buying public.
But hey, forget the fans. Major League Baseball is no place for enjoying new things.
“We may move him around a little bit to get him exposure at different spots, because the last thing we would want to do is send him around the field to play in places where he’s literally never played a game,” Baldelli said Tuesday night. “You can do that at times, but bouncing him all around right now is not the best way to prepare him for this level.”
Still, the Twins’ loss is the St. Paul Saints’ gain.