The Mariners are set to promote outfield prospect Kyle Lewis for his MLB debut, as was first made apparent in a congratulatory tweet from his his college team at Mercer. Seattle has multiple open spots on its 40-man roster, so a corresponding move won’t be necessary.
Lewis, 24, was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 draft but has seen his development slowed by a disastrous knee injury that occurred just months after he was drafted. While playing for Seattle’s short-season Class-A affiliate in July 2016, Lewis tore the ACL, medial meniscus and lateral meniscus in his right knee in a grisly home plate collision. He suited up for only a combined 79 games in his first two professional seasons, and he underwent a second knee surgery — an arthroscopic procedure — shortly before the 2018 season began.
At the time of the draft, Lewis was seen as one of the top college bats available, and it was something of a surprise to see him make it to the Mariners with the No. 11 pick. The organization surely hoped him capable of being a quick mover through the minor league ranks, but the knee injury and lingering complications threw a wrench into any plans to fast-track him to the big leagues. Even in spite of his injury, Lewis ranked among the game’s Top 100 prospects prior to both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, per Baseball America and MLB.com, but a lackluster showing in Double-A last season (.220/.309/.371) caused his stock to dip.
Lewis may not have completely resurrected his prospect status, but he’s certainly performed better in his second trip through Double-A in 2019. He’s been healthy enough to log a career-high 517 plate appearances, batting .263/.342/.398 along the way. The power numbers aren’t where the club would hope, but even that modest line was nine percent better than that of a league-average hitter in the Texas League, by measure of wRC+.
MLB.com lists Lewis tenth among Mariners farmhands at this point, writing that he has an “arm that fits in right field and enough range to stay there.” Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen ranked Lewis eighth in the Mariners’ considerably improved farm system, noting that he looked more “explosive” in Spring Training than he had in seasons past due to improved health in his knee. They tabbed him as a potential middle-of-the-order hitter with impressive raw power but also some strikeout concerns. This season’s 29.4 percent strikeout rate in Arkansas presumably didn’t do anything to curb those concerns.
Looking ahead, the Mariners have several more established outfield options immediately atop their depth chart, though both Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana are currently injured. They’re controlled for next year, though, as is Mallex Smith. If that trio is healthy and all still on the Mariners’ roster — never a sure thing with perhaps the game’s most active general manager, Jerry Dipoto, at the helm — they’d likely be in line for the bulk of the outfield reps in 2020. Other options on the 40-man roster include Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop and Keon Broxton, although the latter of that group seems likely to come off the 40-man roster this winter given his struggles with three different organizations.
It’s possible that a role for Lewis could be opened up with some offseason maneuvering, but it’s equally or more likely that he’ll head to Triple-A Tacoma to begin the 2020 season.
Steven, have you submitted your application for the Red Sox GM position? I’ll be one of your references if you want.
Lewis’s showing in AA isn’t necessarily indicative of his capabilities, as both the Texas League as a whole and specifically the ballpark for the Arkansas Travelers are notoriously pitcher-friendly. If Lewis opens up at AAA next season, that would probably be a better indication of his potential. My guess is that Dunn and White will also be called up tomorrow, since they all need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter anyway.
White shouldn’t be. He doesn’t need to be added to the 40 man this offseason so no reason to start his clock on option years.
More likely you see Warren, Dunn, and maybe Walton that all have to be added to shield from the Rule V
Lewis slashed .319/.392/.504 on the road this year.
C. A. Hevia
Except that the Texas league isn’t notoriously pitcher friendly it is in fact the complete opposite. All but two of the TL parks have run indexes over 100 (Arkansas and Corpus Christi) and of those two CC has a HR index of 118 for RHBs — essentially the same figure as Camden Yards. His home park IS in fact ridiculously pitcher friendly but the Texas League as a whole is a hitter’s paradise.
After Sunday’s performance, it might as well be Mo, Larry, and Curly in the OF
.398 slugging % should not get anyone an MLB job in right field.
The team that has won more games than anybody else since opening day 2017 (and opening day 2016, for that matter) begs to differ.
already just aboutva bust
This makes sense. There’s no reason to send him to AAA where every single hitter has an 1100 OPS this season. It makes sense to just evaluate him at the MLB level since their games don’t even matter anymore.
The AAA season is over for Tacoma, It was MLB or nothing. He’ll start 2020 in AAA barring some kind of miracle. None of the AA fielders are probably going to see much playing time, but the experience to take in the games could prove to be valuable.
Another mariners bust waiting to bloom
Very smart for the M’s to call up Lewis, Dunn, and Walton, even though they are in Double-A. We probably will see more call-ups in the coming days or weeks. I think we will definitely see White wearing a Mariners jersey this season. Also, I think we might even see Kelenic at the end of the season. We might even see Aaron Fletcher at the end of the season. Dom Thompson-Williams doesn’t sound too bad either. So there is a lot of options for this Mariners team going into next season.
Also, why are the O’s not calling up Mountcastle?
Another thing, do you think the Reds call up Gutierrez, Siri, or Stephenson?
I think Lewis still has a chance to be pretty decent. He may take some more time to develop. His offensive profile reminds me of Mike Cameron.
Kyle Lewis, age 23, AA 263/342/398 11 HR, 29% K
Mike Cameron, age 22, AA 249/355/429 11 HR, 25% K
Nice comp, and I agree Lewis still has plenty of raw power to tap into.
yeah interesting comp. might be a decent player if he stays healthy.
Seattle better hope that Haniger gets healthy, and has a big rebound year by the trade deadline. If not, they SERIOUSLY will have missed a HUGE opportunity.
They could have gotten a pretty serious haul this past offseason, especially with there being several contending teams interested in Haniger. With one of those being the Braves who were reportedly willing to deal..
Like I said, hopefully Haniger’s down season is just due to a lack of health; otherwise, the M’s very well might have missed their shot to seriously cash in on him…
They diddnt keep him because they thought they could get more later, but because they want him to be apart of their future.
Haniger has been out w a freak injury, a total fluke accident since June 6. We’ve sorely missed him (and Santana) from our lineup. We’ve already been no hit twice this season and, if not for a Shed Long solo HR yesterday that total would be 3! If he’s healthy next year we should have a good chance of playing .500 ball
Glad to see these Mariners prospects get called up but I’m honestly not impressed with any of these guys.
Our best prospects have yet to come up. It just goes to show how tough it is to hit in this league AND in the case of Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker how good HOU’s prospects are. Sure would be nice to have impact prospects like Pete Alonso, Aquino, (C) Will Smith, Tatis Jr or Chris Paddack.