DETROIT -- The Twins promoted No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis from the Gulf Coast League to Class A Cedar Rapids on Saturday, as the organization believes he has the talent and maturity to make the jump to full-season Minor League baseball.
The 18-year-old, ranked as the No. 31 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, hit .271/.390/.414 with three homers, six doubles, two triples and 15 stolen bases in 36 games with the Gulf Coast League Twins before the promotion.
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"It was in large regard to Royce Lewis' progress, his maturity and our feeling that he could benefit from playing with a full-season club and play in a playoff environment the last few weeks of the season and ultimately the postseason with Cedar Rapids," Twins general manager Thad Levine said. "But the staff down at Fort Myers have spoken highly about the way he's handled himself both on and off the field."
As Levine noted, the Twins wouldn't have promoted Lewis on numbers alone, as they've been impressed by the way he's handled himself off the field as well. Lewis was promoted ahead of fellow shortstop prospect Wander Javier, who remains at Rookie-level Elizabethton, but the Twins wanted Javier to stay at his current level, where he's performing well. Lewis was also promoted after third baseman Travis Blankenhorn went on the disabled list with a strained lower back.
The plan was to keep Lewis in the GCL all season, but he essentially performed his way out of that level.
"That certainly was our plan, without question, and sometimes the best-laid plans are disrupted when players perform with the maturity that dictates that they can be [promoted]," Levine said. "But I think 99 times out of 100, that's how you would handle a high-school player out of the Draft in his first season with a short-season club. I think Royce could be that exception."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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