Spencer Steer Trying To Break From The Pack
When the Twins used their picks in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh rounds from this June's draft on college infielders, scouting director Sean Johnson said the team’s criteria for sorting out that foursome would be pretty simple.
"If you hit, you move up,” Johnson said. "We know they are all excellent defenders. Now, show us you’ve got a bat that will move you up the ladder.”
If Johnson meant it as a challenge, Spencer Steer certainly heeded it. The 21-year-old Californian, chosen with the 90th overall pick after an All-Pac 12 season at Oregon, collected a hit in each of his first four professional games for Rookie-level Elizabethton, and by the end of his first week owned a .387/.457/.581 slash line.
None of this came as a surprise to Johnson and his staff. Steer, the executive said, had proven himself in the Cape Cod League a summer earlier, batting .304 while hitting with wood bats for the first time.
"He’s a confident hitter, and he showed good pitch recognition. He checked a lot of boxes for us up there,” Johnson said. "He’s not particularly big, but he has a little power if he gets his pitch . . . With his experience, I could see him moving up quickly.”
Even more quickly than Johnson expected, actually. Steer spent only three weeks in the Appalachian League, a 5-for-5 night convincing the Twins he was ready for low Class A Cedar Rapids. Steer’s .325 batting average and nine extra-base hits were impressive, but the Twins particularly liked that Steer walked 15 times from the leadoff spot, while striking out on just five occasions.
While Steer starts the climb through Minnesota’s system, the Twins are considering where he’ll play. He earned all-conference defensive honors while playing third base for the Ducks, but the Twins mostly used him at shortstop in rookie ball, with a handful of games at second. At Cedar Rapids, he’s back at third base.
"I really believe he can stay at shortstop. He’s got the range, the arm, and scouts always believe you can never [draft] enough shortstops,” Johnson said. "Now, whether he ends up at second or third, to be determined . . . That’s someone else’s department.”
— The Twins’ 2018 first-rounder, outfielder Trevor Larnach, is moving quickly. After a .316/.382/.459 half-season at high Class A Fort Myers, Larnach was promoted to Double-A Pensacola on July 16 and immediately collected hits in each of his first four games.
— It’s been a quiet season for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, but an appearance in the Futures Game has seemingly re-energized Royce Lewis. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound shortstop went on a tear upon returning to high Class A Fort Myers after the break, batting .293 with two home runs in his first 10 games.