Mariners Sign First Round Draft Pick Kyle Lewis
Just after 5:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, the Seattle Mariners selected Lewis, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound outfielder from Mercer University, with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Less than 48 hours later, Lewis was at Safeco Field to sign his contract and join the Mariners for batting practice prior to their game vs. the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
“We are thrilled to have Kyle in the organization,” Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara said at this afternoon’s news conference. “We’re looking forward to seeing him play and be a part of the Mariners organization and the community.”
After signing his contract, Lewis spent some time in the Mariners clubhouse before taking the field for batting practice.
“It was unbelievable,” Lewis said. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life, being able to walk into the clubhouse, meet the guys and be around them… Everybody was welcoming. So for me, it was just an unbelievable experience.”
In his recently-completed junior season at Mercer, Lewis hit .395 (88×223) with 20 home runs and 72 RBI, earning Baseball America’s College Player of the Year award. Lewis was 2nd in the nation with a program-record 66 walks and ranked 15th nationally in batting (.395), 5th in on-base percentage (.535) and tied-for-4th in runs (70).
A native of Snelville, GA., Lewis is eager to begin his professional career with the Mariners.
“I have a lot of confidence in my ability and what I’m able to bring to the team,” Lewis said. “I can’t wait to get working and get it going.”
Lewis didn’t have to wait long to step into the cage and take some cuts at Safeco Field.
Area scout John Wiedenbauer spent much of the spring watching Lewis dominate the Southern Conference for Mercer. In addition to posting 33 extra-base hits (11 doubles, 2 triples and 20 home runs), Lewis compiled a 48-game on-base streak and tallied 27 multi-hit games this season.
“It seemed like every game I went to go see him, it seemed like he was hitting the ball out of the park,” said Wiedenbauer, who scouted and signed Lewis. “We were pretty excited about him all year.”