What sets Mariners OF Kyle Lewis apart from other prospects?
Sep 19, 2019, 1:25 AM | Updated: 1:50 am
In his first three series in a Mariners uniform, Kyle Lewis has been a sight to behold.
With an opposite-field home run on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, the 24-year-old rookie outfielder pushed his season total to five homers. That’s five homers in just eight games, mind you.
Lewis has been a bit of a revelation for anybody watching the Mariners since he arrived as a Sept. 10 call-up from Double-A Arkansas. Lewis was Seattle’s 2016 first-round draft pick but had a very rough start to his career due to a catastrophic knee injury in 2016. As a result he was receiving far less attention this year than other outfield prospects in the organization like Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. The only one of those outfielders people are thinking about when Lewis steps up to the plate right now is Lewis, though.
“The future looks better than I could have imagined for Kyle Lewis,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom Wassell said earlier this week. “Kyle Lewis makes me excited when he’s at the plate. I feel like something good’s gonna happen.”
“He’s must-watch,” added Dave “The Groz” Grosby, Wassell’s Bob, Groz and Tom co-host.
The conversation about Lewis continued Wednesday when ROOT Sports Mariners analyst Mike Blowers joined Bob, Groz and Tom for his weekly interview, and Blowers mentioned that the Mariners’ brass could see the kind of progress Lewis was making back in the spring.
“He tore it up in spring training. He opened up everybody’s eyes in spring training,” Blowers said. “… You could just see all the raw ability that is there, but you could also see that he needed to fine-tune some things and Double-A was probably a good spot for him.”
Lewis’ numbers with Double-A Arkansas this year don’t jump off the page – .263 average, .741 OPS and 11 home runs in 122 games – but Blowers relayed that some hitting coaches with the Mariners were telling a different story before Lewis was brought up to the big leagues.
“I asked them about Kyle (in) the end of August knowing that he was going to be one of the call-ups, and they started talking about how consistently he hits the ball (with) exit velo over 100 mph, (how) he’s been hurt by the yard there (in Arkansas),” Blowers said. “He had some tough luck earlier (but) this is something that will play at this level, and we’ve seen it right away.”
Wassell pointed out that the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Lewis has a presence about him on the field, and Blowers agreed.
“Even right now I’m looking down on the field,” Blowers said from Pittsburgh’s PNC Park before Wednesday’s Mariners-Pirates game, “and you watch him walk out of the dugout, he looks like he’s a first-round pick. That’s exactly what you’re seeing.”
To hear the full conversation with Blowers about the Mariners, listen in the player embedded below or download the podcast this link.