Holding the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Mariners received an unexpected gift. Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis, widely considered a top talent and one of the best hitters in the draft, slipped. Several teams who were thought to be on him balked at his bonus demands, opting to draft a more affordable player instead. The Mariners capitalized, selecting Lewis just a few minutes ago.
Lewis has a quick bat and easy plus power. An above average runner, he should stick in center field for at least a little while into his professional career, though he may have to shift to a corner as he matures. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he's large and extremely athletic, and it's not hard to envision him slotting into the middle of a big league lineup.
There are concerns, however. His swing mechanics are unconventional: he uses a high leg kick, and his elongated bat path leaves him susceptible to swinging and missing, particularly against premium velocity. He's also more untested than most players in his draft orbit: he hit well on the Cape last season, but he played college ball at a relatively small school, which means he hasn't had too many reps against quality arms.
Ultimately though, Lewis is a great grab for the Mariners at eleven. They couldn't have been expecting to draft him, and they're getting a better player than any of us could have hoped for. He's not a certainty: his hit tool is a question mark, and we probably won't have a great feel for how well it will play until he reaches the high minors. That said, he has the athleticism and the makeup to get the most out of his tools. Without a doubt, he'll be one of the Mariners top two prospects from the moment he signs.