No. 11: Kyle Lewis, OF

 The Seattle Mariners selected Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis with the No. 11 pick in the MLB Draft Thursday. Lewis shot up draft boards early in the spring with some putting Top-8 grades on him.

Here are the details on Lewis:
HT: 6-4
WT: 210
POS: OF
B/T: R/R

,Lewis is a right-handed bat with plus bat speed a power swing and above-average speed and defense. He throws well and fits nicely in a corner, but has a chance to stick in center. There’s some Mike Cameron in his setup and stance and is at least as athletic as the former Mariners centerfielder. He possesses more power upside, however, which likely helps him fit in right field if center doesn’t come to fruition.

The knock on Lewis is the swing mechanics. He uses a very high-driving leg kick to trigger 70-grade raw power, which projects to cause contact and timing issues in pro ball, eventually. He does quiet down the leg kick in certain two-strike situations or late in games when power is not his goal, but swing and miss is the concern here.

That worry is not aided by Lewis’ very active hands; he loads deep both vertically and back, away from the pitcher. He has big-time bat speed, so we may not see many issues in the lower minors, but this is something that may show up in the high minors once pitchers are better at… everything.

Enter the Mariners new player development staff, which in a short period of time seems to have a better handle on things than any in the past. If a more sound trigger is found for Lewis early, he could move quickly, potentially hitting Advanced-A ball by the time the 2017 season starts.

Long term, Lewis has a chance to hit for enough average to support 30-homer power he creates with natural leverage and loft, and sound baserunning and defense. Without much study time, I’d tentatively place Lewis immediately inside the club’s Top 3 prospects, perhaps No. 2 overall right behind Tyler O’Neill.

The Mariners have organizational needs across the board, but Lewis represents the best player available at No. 11. Look for Seattle to stay on the BPA path for pick No. 50.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

4 Comments

  1. Only when the agent and/or parents don’t influence a “squeeze every penny out of them bastards” approach to the player’s first contract.

    It’s a joke and happens a lot. One negotiation exchange via text a few years back went like this, in part, paraphrased:

    Team: “We’re willing to go to $1.25 and just get this done. We’d like to bring (player) and family out and get it done.”

    Agent: “I’m in a tough spot. His mom wants $1.8. I have no idea where she got that number. I need a little time to work on this.”

    Team: “$1.25 is good for an hour. Then we’re going to get aggressive with some of our other selections and it will mean less available tomorrow or the next day.”

    Agent: “I think $1.25 is fair, it’s 40k over slot, it’s what we all talked about before today.

    “Curious — if we agree right now, can you do $1.3?”

    Team: “… We’re on the clock with our other picks, too. Three of them, maybe more. $1.25 is our number.”

    Agent: “His mother just asked me to stop talking to you and to tell you he’s not signing for less than $1.8”

    Team: “We’d like to talk to (player) and wish him well next year. Because he will not be a (team name).”

    Agent: “Wish I had more say here.”

  2. Apparently they got BPA and the easiest sign, how often does that happen?! When does Everett’s season begin…

  3. I thought this pick was as good as could be expected. I had him second on my list, behind Corey Ray. The upside, from everything I’ve read, is huge with Kyle. I think they will work with him right away on his bat load and possibly reducing the leg kick. I think this regime has a much better plan and implementation system for developing talent so I’m hoping he can become a star.

  4. Love the pick. And absolutely love seeing the 70 raw power grade.

    I like that on the surface that they took someone who looks like the best baseball player available at 11, not just the easiest sign.

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