The Seattle Mariners wasted no time making Kyle Lewis an official Seattle Mariner, reportedly agreeing to a deal less than 48 hours after selecting Lewis out of Mercer University with the eleventh overall pick in the draft.
If it was unclear, yes, deal between #Mariners and OF Kyle Lewis (No. 11 overall) is for slot value of $3,286,700.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) June 11, 2016
The Mariners were helped by the fact that Mercer has long been eliminated from postseason competition, but the signing was still a sudden and pleasant surprise.
Lewis was considered by many to be the best bat available in the draft, and there were perhaps a few concerns that the Mariners would have to go above slot-value to get a deal done. Lewis signing for slot-value gives them flexibility in working towards a contract with second-round pick Joe Rizzo or they select a prep prospect on Sunday who would need a significant amount of cash to abandon college plans.
In Lewis' junior year at Mercer, he hit .395/.535/.731 with a .336 ISO, winning Baseball America's Player of the Year honor in the process. Baseball folks have been overwhelmingly positive about the Mariners grabbing him:
LOVE the Kyle Lewis pick for Seattle. Didn't understand the top five talk, but Lewis in this range? Well done, Seattle.— Christopher Crawford (@CVCrawfordBP) June 10, 2016
The draft room reaction after selecting Kyle Lewis. pic.twitter.com/FmH5tmknFw— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 10, 2016
Check out the scenes from Kyle Lewis' draft party as he became the highest MLB pick in Mercer history! https://t.co/NYaSsjkRL4— Mercer Baseball (@MercerBaseball) June 10, 2016
Brendan Gawlowski also provided some great analysis on Lewis on Thursday. If you want to follow and comment on the draft's third day we have an open thread right here.
Good day for the team, who now have an exciting new prospect in the fold.