It's been written plenty of times the past few months, including by us, just how much the Minnesota Twins offense has benefited from a dash of youth this season.
In particular, Eduard Julien, Royce Lewis and Matt Wallner.
But just how good this trio of rookies have performed in 2023 has been historical.
Not surprisingly, Lewis has been the most proficient. Finally healthy, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017 has been raking all summer. The grand slams, of which he has four in 57 games this year, gain him a lot of notice. But it's not just that.
Lewis is slashing .308/.370/.551 with 15 home runs in 235 plate appearances. He leads the Twins in average and slugging, is second in on-base and his 6.4% home run percentage is tops on the club for any player with more than 30 plate appearances. Lewis is also tied for second on Minnesota in bWAR (2.4) -- despite having played just 57 games. He is averaging one home run every 14.3 at-bats, which would put him fifth in the American League (he, however, doesn't qualify for the leaders).
With a home run Monday against Cincinnati, Lewis raised his OPS to .922. In Twins history, that's the second-highest OPS for a rookie. Only Joe Mauer in 2004 was better at .939 -- and he had just 122 plate appearances that season. Tony Oliva (1964) and Miguel Sano (2015) both had a .916 OPS. No other Minnesota rookie has reached .900.
But this story isn’t just about Lewis.
Like Lewis, Julien was also selected in the 2017 draft -- by Philadelphia -- but he didn't sign. Minnesota took him in the 18th round in 2019. He's not exactly the kind of guy you count on making the major leagues.
But he make it he has, and he's flourishing. Julien leads the Twins in on-base percentage (.377), is fourth in WAR (2.2) and fifth in slugging percentage (.460). Julien has a .397 on-base percentage since the All-Star break and in Twins wins is slashing .302/.421/.604. Julien's .837 OPS is tied for season on the team with …
Wallner, another pick from the '19 draft (first round in the competitive balance phase).
Like Lewis, Wallner made his debut last season. He played in 18 games, hitting .228/.323/.386. Given a chance in 2023, the Forest Lake native has shown off his batting eye and power. He's slashing .239/.353/.484 with 12 home runs in 221 plate appearances.
To recap: That's three Twins rookie with an OPS of .837 or higher. Guess what? That hasn't been seen in the major leagues in nearly 100 years.
The last time a club had three rookies with an .830 or better OPS (and min. 200 PA) was the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals, who had George Fisher (1.019), Gus Mancuso (.965) and George Watkins (1.037).
It should be noted, however, that offense was a bit out of whack in 1930. The league average in the National League was .303. The Cardinals as a team hit .314/.372/.471!
The only other time in MLB history this has been accomplished was the 1925 Yankees, which did it with future Hall of Famers Earle Combs and Lou Gehrig as well as Ben Paschal.
There's only been six teams -- the Twins would be the seventh -- to have three rookies post .800+ seasons (again, min. 200 PA). The last to do it was the 2006 Florida (yes, kids, Florida) Marlins with Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham.
Third time in a century? Florida Marlins? Lou Gehrig?? You don't need to say much more to know these Twins rookies are in special company.