Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Twins announced tonight that they have selected shortstop Royce Lewisfrom JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, CA with the first overall selection in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The 18-year-old high school senior was rated as a top prospect in the draft by MLB.com. A versatile position player, Lewis played third base and center field at the start of his high school career before playing solely shortstop as a senior. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Lewis was named the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year in California and Trinity League Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.
The right-handed hitting Lewis was also named the Los Angeles Times High School Player of the Year as a junior in 2016, after hitting .429 with nine doubles and four home runs. He was named MVP of the 2016 Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field and the Perfect Game All-American Classic MVP at Petco Park.
The Aliso Viejo, CA native was a member of the gold medal-winning USA Baseball 18U National Team in the fall of 2016 that defeated Cuba in October for the 2016 COPABE Pan American AAA Championship.
His father, William, played football at Fullerton College and Chino State, and his mother, Cindy, played softball at U.S. International and San Jose State. Lewis is the sixth player ever selected in the draft out of JSerra Catholic High School, and the highest since catcher Austin Hedges was selected by the Padres in the second round in 2011.
This year marks the third time in Twins history they have the first overall player in the MLB Draft, doing so in 2001 (catcher Joe Mauer) and 1983 (RHP Tim Belcher – did not sign). Additionally, 2017 marks the 34th time overall, and the sixth straight season, the Twins have selected in the top 15. Lewis becomes the second consecutive high school position player selected first overall in the draft, joining 2016 Phillies first overall selection Mickey Moniak.
This is the third time in the last four years that the Twins have selected a high school position player with their first round selection, selecting outfielder Alex Kirilloff in 2016 and infielder Nick Gordon in 2014. Additionally, the Twins have selected a high school infielder in the first round four times since 2011 (Nick Gordon in 2014, and Travis Harrison and Levi Michael in 2011).
Since the 2001 Draft, 14 of the Twins first round selections have reached the major leagues and six are on the Twins roster, including Byron Buxton (2nd overall in 2012), José Berríos (32nd overall in 2012), Kyle Gibson (22nd overall in 2009), Alex Wimmers (21st overall in 2010), Glen Perkins (22nd overall in 2004) and Joe Mauer (1st overall in 2001).
Royce Lewis was recommended by Twins scout John Leavitt.