Who does Royce Lewis remind you of?
I’ve used a lot of comparisons for the young Twins shortstop / third baseman /
center fielder, but most of them have not been people-related, because his particular combination of youthful enthusiasm, fearlessness, and disregard for personal well-being is more comparable to many of our friends from the animal kingdom than it is to most people.
Lewis hit his second grand slam in two days on Monday, leading the Twins to a win over Cleveland, 10-6. He became the first Twin ever to hit grand slams on back-to-back days, he has three this season, and he’s showing off a flair for delivering in big situations - something that has especially stood out as so many of his teammates have struggled with runners on base, and as Carlos Correa has shown a proclivity for hitting into double plays instead of driving in runs.
So who does he compare to, in the human, baseball world?
I thought about this for awhile this morning, and the comparisons I keep coming up with are other guys who just seem like while they could succeed at football or basketball or whatever, they’re all about baseball. Bryce Harper. Joe Mauer. Mike Trout. Juan Soto. Obviously I’m naming future Hall of Famers here, and I’m not sure Lewis is currently on that trajectory, but I get those kind of vibes from Lewis. If he can stop injuring himself, then maybe he can be that kind of guy.
We should also mention Josh Winder, who got the rare “pitches effectively for three innings” save, and top St. Paul Saints reliever Kody Funderburk, who got the call-up on Monday and pitched two innings to get the win in relief of Kenta Maeda, who got bombed.
We’re in a weird spot for Twins starting pitchers. Bailey Ober got sent down to the minors to make room for Funderburk, and as recently as yesterday I was indicating that I thought he’d be the Twins’ third starter in a playoff series.
Rosters expand from 26 to 28 players in September, so maybe this is just a temporary 15-day vacation for Ober - get a rest for a bit, then do what is effectively a rehab stint with the Saints… but if that was true, you’d think they would have invented a fatigue-based injury and put Ober on the IL instead.
By the way, I’m interested to see if you can name the other six guys in the Twins bullpen right now, besides Winder and Funderburk. Answers at the bottom of this blog, if you want to test yourself.
The Twins are now seven games ahead of Cleveland, and have 12 wins to go to get to .500 for the season, which is almost certainly going to be enough to win the division.
LYNX at Washington, 6pm
TWINS vs Cleveland, 6:40pm
GOPHER VOLLEYBALL vs #1 Texas, 7pm
SAINTS vs Columbus, 7:07pm
LOONS vs Colorado, Wednesday
GOPHER FOOTBALL vs Nebraska, Thursday
VIKINGS vs Tampa Bay, September 10
Quiz answer: Jhoan Duran, Dylan Floro, Griffin Jax, Emilio Pagan, Cole Sands, Caleb Thielbar