clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 MLB Draft: Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer University

New, 10 comments

If you are looking for a college player with tools as well as excellent numbers, look no further than Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis.

Lewis played high school baseball in Snellville, Georgia, but was undrafted in 2013. Scouts were aware of him but he was considered raw and in need of college polish. Attending Mercer, he hit .281/.340/.382 in an 89 at-bat part-time role as a freshman in 2014, then took over a regular outfield job in '15 and batted .367/.423/.677 with 17 homers.

That caught the eye of prospect analysts both professional and journalistic but there were two major questions: was this just a small college fluke, and how would it translate to wooden bats? Lewis went to the Cape Cod League and answered those doubts last summer, hitting .300/.344/.500 with wood, including seven homers, seven doubles, and a fair 11/29 BB/K in 150 at-bats for the Orleans Firebirds.

That performance got him into the first round conversation entering the 2016 season. He's been even better this spring, hitting .414/.536/.790 with 15 homers, 42 walks, and 32 strikeouts in 157 at-bats so far.  Lewis has improved his power production each season while steadily sharpening his strike zone judgment. The first round is a lock at this point.

Lewis' best physical tool is raw power. His swing is a little noisy but the ball jumps off his bat and he's improved his ability to manage the strike zone every year. His tear through the Cape provides re-assurance that the bat is real, the gaudy numbers not just a distortion due to metal and competition. Lewis' other tools such as running speed and arm strength are at least average according to most evaluators, and while not a big stolen base threat his tools serve him well on defense where he should be very good at either corner.

At this point Lewis is a mid-first round pick at least and has a shot at the top ten.

Chuck Wasserstrom had a good interview with Lewis at MLB Trade Rumors on Thursday, April 21st.

Video from Amanda Irvine.