Royce Lewis started his first playoff appearance in stunning fashion, hitting two home runs in one game as part of what the Minnesota Twins infielder calls “a God thing.”
He proceeded to hit yet another home run in the team’s postseason-ending loss to the Houston Astros in the divisional playoffs Oct. 11. As MLB.com noted, “Lewis cemented himself into the Twins’ record books with his fourth big fly of the postseason, matching Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for the most homers by a Twin in a single postseason.”
Among the Twins’ five highlights from that tense 3-2 loss, Sports Illustrated cited Lewis as No. 1.
Drafted first overall by the Twins in 2017, Lewis made the most of his postseason debut Oct. 7 and became just the third player in history with a home run in each of his first two plate appearances. It was his first multi-homer game in the pros, and he became the first Twin to do it in the postseason in 37 years.
Even before that, the 24-year-old standout had singlehandedly ensured a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Series, giving his team a 1-0 series lead. The win also ended an MLB-record postseason losing streak of 18 games for the Twins.
While Lewis received the bulk of the credit for the win, the star of the game quickly redirected the praise to God in the postgame presser.
“That’s a God thing,” Lewis said, adding, “I’m just blessed to be a part of it. I mean, it felt like I was blacked out in the whole game, but especially in those moments when I was on the field. My heart was racing.”
Lewis, who normally plays third base, received the designated hitter assignment from manager Rocco Baldelli. Both Baldelli and Lewis were unsure if he would even be able to play, as the Twins put Lewis on the injured list back on Sept. 19 due to a hamstring sprain.
Lewis is no stranger to battling through injuries that have unfortunately plagued the early years of his MLB career. He appeared in only 58 games this regular season due to an oblique strain, and came back through two ACL tears in the same knee in 2021 and 2022.
Rather than complaining, the Twins’ rising star kept counting his blessings at every opportunity. After tearing his ACL for the second time, Lewis told MLB.com:
“I think it helps that I’m literally living my best life and dream, and just the blessing I’ve had, that God has bestowed upon me and my family, for me to be able to take care of my family and myself. I just appreciate the opportunity, and I know He’s not taking that away. It’s just a pause, just another setback that honestly will push me forward and propel me to greater heights.”
Lewis echoes that sentiment in His Instagram bio, which puts 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 as the centerpiece: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Lewis “grew up in Christ” under his parents’ direction while learning to manage a competitive baseball schedule encroaching on Sunday morning fellowship. Lewis said his family adjusted by watching as many online sermons as possible together, a habit that sticks with him to this day.
“We’ve got all these social media outlets now like YouTube and Netflix, and [I’m] continuing to learn and grow faith through there. I watch a lot of sermons, probably three in a week, and usually I do watch them all on Sunday just because Sunday’s my day of no workouts, chilling out, a true day of rest in the off seasons,” Lewis said in a “Heaven to the Yeah” podcast interview last year.
He added some encouragement to young believers, and explained that his goal as a believer in an MLB locker room is to put off the “fragrance” of Christ, alluding to 2 Corinthians 2:15.
“You put off this fragrance, and my goal is to just keep that fragrance smelling strong, beautiful, and light it up with glowing images so God can flow through me and work His way out toward other people,” Lewis said.