JAKE AND STACY

Can Kyle Lewis and Evan White contribute to the Mariners in 2022?

Jan 22, 2022, 11:48 AM
Mariners OF Kyle Lewis...
Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners in action against the Cleveland Indians at T-Mobile Park. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Mariners were one of the best surprises in MLB in 2021, winning 90 games and finishing just two games out of a playoff spot.

‘No reason to panic’ after Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic’s rocky debut

What made it more impressive is they did it without two players who have been seen as long-term fixtures in the lineup.

Those players are center fielder Kyle Lewis, who won the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year Award, and first baseman Evan White.

Lewis started the year on the injured list with bone bruise in his knee. That knee is the same one he’s suffered multiple injuries to that have required multiple surgeries. After returning in late-April, Lewis played just 36 games before tearing his meniscus in that same knee. He finished 2021 slashing .246/.333/.392 with five home runs.

For White, he struggled mightily upon making his MLB debut in 2020, slashing .176/.252/.346 in 54 games. He also struck out in 41.5% of his plate appearances.

2021 was more of the same for White as he slashed .144/.202/.237, but he improved in the strikeout department with a 29.8% strikeout rate. But the 2020 Gold Glover played in only 30 games due to a hip injury that ultimately required surgery.

The Mariners clearly think highly of Lewis and White as they were first-round picks in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and in the case of White, the franchise inked him to a long-term contract before he’d ever played an MLB game.

But with injuries slowing Lewis down and with White coming off an injury and back-to-back tough seasons at the plate, are those two capable of making contributions at the MLB level in 2022?

That was one of many questions that Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser was asked during a recent interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

“With Kyle Lewis, the answer is yes as long as he’s healthy,” Glaser said. “We’ve seen what he’s capable of both offensively and defensively. But ever since he had a horrible knee collision shortly after he was drafted, he just has had a lot of setbacks with the knee and at times we’d think he was healthy and then something else comes up.”

But if Lewis can get over his latest knee ailment, Glaser has high hopes for the Mariners outfielder in 2022.

“If he’s healthy, the answer is absolutely yes,” Glaser said. “He should be the Mariners’ starting center fielder and build off a campaign that saw him win Rookie of the Year during the shortened 2020 season. But it’s just such a question mark with his health.”

With Lewis, there aren’t three outfielders currently better than him in the organization, so he doesn’t have that to worry about. That’s not the case with White as Ty France was the Mariners’ most consistent hitter in 2021 and he thrived defensively at first base after White went down.

“Evan White straight up has been passed up,” Glaser said. “Ty France is a better hitter. He right now looks like the first baseman. At the end of the day, it’s just going to be a matter of if Evan White can kind of get everything together a little bit and try and be the type of hitter he showed he could be in the minors.”

White holds a career .296/.361/.476 minor league slash line in 1,024 plate appearances and he’s arguably the best defensive first baseman in baseball, but only the glove has translated to MLB success thus far.

“Right now it’s Ty France’s job to lose and based on his track record, I don’t think anyone expects Ty France to lose it,” Glaser said.

Listen to Glaser’s full discussion with Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Mitch Haniger sees Mariners getting closer to his World Series goal

Date Starting Pitcher
Saturday, May 28 @ 7:10 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Chance Light Rain
High 60° | Low 51°
Roof is open
Astros at Mariners today at 7:10pm

Jake & Stacy Show

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Geno Smith...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Why Seahawks’ Geno Smith is so key for QB competition

The fact that the Seahawks have a QB who knows the system in Geno Smith is critical for the QB competition as a whole, Jake Heaps explains.
3 days ago
Julio Rodriguez celebrates his three-run home run against the Athletics at T-Mobile Park. (Steph Ch...
Brandon Gustafson

Why Mariners’ emerging phenom Julio Rodríguez is ‘well beyond his years’

Julio Rodríguez has shined for the Mariners as a rookie. Manager Scott Servais details just what has been so impressive with his play.
4 days ago
Mariners Kyle Lewis...
Brent Stecker

Mariners’ Kyle Lewis is back: 2020 AL ROY returns after year out

Nearly a year since his last game in the majors, Kyle Lewis will return from the injured list to be the Mariners' DH, Scott Servais confirmed Tuesday to Seattle Sports.
4 days ago
Mariners...
Stacy Rost

Rost: For Mariners at quarter mark, why arrow could be pointing up

The 2022 season hasn't gone to plan for the Mariners, but there's still reason to be optimistic for the future of the franchise.
4 days ago
Seahawks Jamal Adams...
Brent Stecker

Seahawks need to turn Jamal Adams deal into a success in 2022

Former NFL QB Jake Heaps explains what the Seahawks need to do with Jamal Adams to make their investment in the All-Pro safety a success.
5 days ago
Seahawks Shelby Harris...
Brent Stecker

Heaps: New DT Shelby Harris adds something Seahawks were missing

DT Shelby Harris, who the Seahawks got in the Russell Wilson trade from Denver, gives Seattle something the defense has needed.
6 days ago
Can Kyle Lewis and Evan White contribute to the Mariners in 2022?