Watch: Mariners 2016 1st-round pick Kyle Lewis homers in MLB debut
Kyle Lewis, the Seattle Mariners’ first-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, was all smiles when he walked up to the plate for his first big league at-bat on Monday night at T-Mobile Park.
The smile was noticeably bigger after his second trip to the plate.
The 24-year-old Lewis crushed a 2-0, middle-high fastball from Reds All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer in the fifth inning, depositing his first MLB home run into the Mariners bullpen.
Not only was it a milestone homer for Lewis, but it was an important one for the Mariners. It pulled them into a 1-1 tie at the time with Cincinnati and was the team’s first hit off of Bauer. The Mariners went on to win 4-3 after another homegrown player named Kyle – Kyle Seager – hit a go-ahead, two-run homer for Seattle in the eighth inning.
Lewis’ blast was an impressive one, going 426 feet with an exit velocity of 106.2 mph, that showed why the Mariners took the standout from small Mercer University in Georgia with their first pick under general manager Jerry Dipoto (11th overall in 2016).
Lewis’ family was in attendance for his big fly, and it’s worth watching this video from the Mariners Twitter account for their reaction alone.
First MLB hit. ✅
First MLB home run. ✅
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 11, 2019
Lewis’ debut was no doubt a special moment for a player whose pro career got off to anything but a smooth start. Just 30 games into his first season, Lewis sustained a catastrophic knee injury on a slide and collision at the plate while playing for the short-season Single-A Everett AquaSox. He tore his ACL, medial meniscus and lateral meniscus all on the play, requiring surgery and a lengthy rehab period. In fact, he wasn’t fully healthy until this year, even needing an additional arthroscopic surgery last year to clean up his knee. That makes 2019 his first full pro season, and it’s been a memorable one.
Atta kid pic.twitter.com/a8lWhRfJgZ
— Mike Salk, 710 ESPN (@TheMikeSalk) September 11, 2019
Lewis joined the Mariners on Tuesday along with three teammates from Double-A Arkansas – pitchers Justin Dunn and Art Warren and infielder Donnie Walton. With the Travelers, where Lewis spent the entire season prior to Tuesday, he hit .263 with 11 home runs and 61 runs scored, leading the team with 25 doubles and 62 RBIs in 122 games.
Lewis was the lone new call-up to get the start for the Mariners on Tuesday, playing right field and hitting sixth in the batting order. He wasn’t the only one to get in the game, however. Donnie Walton took over at shortstop in the ninth inning, and he had a milestone moment himself by becoming the 65th player used by the Mariners this season, a new MLB record.