The Mariners have signed first-round pick Kyle Lewis, whom they took 11th overall in this year’s draft. That selection comes with a $3.287MM slot value, which is what the outfielder will receive.
Lewis chatted with MLBTR contributor Chuck Wasserstrom before the draft, discussing his late commitment to the game of baseball. He also explained all the work he’s done and confidence he’s gained since turning his attention away from hoops late in his high school career.
MLB.com prospect gurus Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis called Lewis the third-best player available entering the draft. That was based in large part on his “easy pop to all fields,” but the duo credited him also with a strong overall skillset to go with the power.
That was largely the same assessment of the Baseball America team, which rated him fourth. ESPN.com’s Keith Law pegged Lewis as the tenth overall draft prospect, suggesting that he’s slightly more concerned than others with the 20-year-old’s need to refine his hitting mechanics — though that was a common issue raised by all of these evaluators.
While Lewis is a center fielder by trade, the consensus appears to be that he’ll eventually settle in at a corner spot. A strong arm could land him in right field, per the reports. Perhaps due in part to his lack year-round baseball before heading to college, Lewis’s game speed is said to lag his raw velocity on his feet.
Seattle has to be pleased with the way things broke with its first pick. The club was somewhat hamstrung last winter because it fell out of the top 10 with a win in its final game last year — meaning that it possessed the top unprotected pick in the draft for purposes of signing players who declined qualifying offers. After holding on to the choice rather than punting it to add a high-profile free agent, it was surely gratifying to see an elite name not only fall to them, but also sign in short order.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune first reported the deal. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation had the financial details.