Player: Kyle Lewis

Position: OF

DOB: July 13, 1995 (20 years old)

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 210 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

School: Mercer

Previously Drafted: Never drafted



Believe it or not, unheralded Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, with its 4,500-odd undergraduates, has had a total of 32 players selected in the MLB draft over the years.

The best of the bunch has been current Oakland A’s center fielder Billy Burns, who was a 32nd-round pick in 2011, while the highest draft pick in school history was shortstop Pat Creech, who went No. 32 overall back in 1973.

That is, until Kyle Lewis came along.

A role player who saw just 89 at-bats as a freshman, Lewis exploded with a .367/.423/.677 line last year that included 19 doubles, 17 home runs and 56 RBI.

That strong performance was enough to put him on the prospect map, but there were still questions about how his game would translate against a higher level of competition.

Situations like that are exactly what the Cape Cod League was created for, as it gives scouts a chance to see the best college baseball has to offer squaring off head-to-head.

Playing for the Orleans Firebirds last summer, Lewis hit .300/.344/.500 with seven doubles, seven home runs and 24 RBI.

With that, he was thrust into the first-round conversation, and his stock has only continued to climb with a monster junior campaign.

The slugging outfielder is currently hitting an outrageous .395/.535/.731 with 11 doubles, 20 home runs and 72 RBI.

Just as impressively, he’s raised his walk rate from 7.5 percent last year to 21.9 percent this season. A lot of that is pitchers working around him, but a willingness to take a free pass is a promising sign from a player who does have some swing-and-miss to his game.


Pick Analysis

A 6’4″ slugger with huge collegiate numbers and impressive raw power is a clear first-round talent, but there are some concerns with Lewis, namely whether or not the many moving parts to his swing will lead to problems against better pitching at the next level. 

As’s Prospect Watch put it, his swing “is busier than most scouts would like,” but it’s hard to argue with the results.

Baseball America pegged Lewis as the No. 4 prospect in this year’s class, offering up the following insights:

Lewis is a right-handed hitter with plus-plus raw power. He has some swing-and-miss to his game, and his swing plane can be somewhat steep, but he’s developed a reputation for destroying mistake pitches and working at-bats until he gets the pitch he’s looking for.

Lewis plays center field at Mercer and is likely to begin his pro career in center, but most feel that his tools will play better in right field.

Lewis posts below-average run times to first base, reaching the bag between 4.3 and 4.6 seconds regularly, but his speed is better under way and some scouts like his defensive instincts. Should he have to move away from center, Lewis should fit well in right due to his excellent arm, which scouts have graded above-average to plus.

As long as he can make the necessary adjustments at the next level, his power should carry him, and he has a chance to be a legitimate 30-homer threat if everything falls into place.


Pro Comparison: Justin Upton

A tempting comparison here is Minnesota Twins prospect Adam Brett Walker, who has a loud power tool and a similar frame and also did his college work at a small school in Jacksonville University.

Lewis is a far superior prospect, though.

He has a much more advanced approach at the plate and is light-years better defensively, as Walker is a first baseman by trade and still trying to learn the outfield.

Instead, someone like Justin Upton seems to provide a reasonable glimpse into what Lewis’ eventual ceiling could wind up being. Both are big, strong outfielders with plus raw power and a willingness to take a walk, despite having some swing-and-miss in the repertoire as well.

Lewis probably won’t be a double-digit steal threat, while Upton has stolen at least 18 bases five different times, but they are both solid athletes.

Defensively, Upton has always profiled better in left field, so Lewis actually has a chance to be the better player in that respect.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the power tool with both players.

Lewis is capable of being a perennial 25-30-homer threat in the middle of someone’s lineup, and as long as his swing mechanics play, he won’t be a drain in the average department by any means, either.

That’s exactly the type of player Upton has developed into, and it earned him a $132.75 million payday this past winter.


Projection: Starting right fielder, middle-of-the-order run-producer


Major League ETA: 2019


Chances of Signing: 99 percent

The questions about the level of competition Lewis faced in college weren’t enough to send him down draft boards, and he’ll be cashing in as a result.


All college stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube, unless otherwise noted, and current through Wednesday, June 8.

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