Mercer OF Kyle Lewis was selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. (photo courtesy of Mercer University)
Mariners Press Release
SAFECO FIELD - The Seattle Mariners selected outfielder Kyle Lewis out of Mercer University with their first selection (11th overall pick) in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara announced tonight.
Lewis, 20 (21 on July 13), was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year, is a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year and was selected as a First Team All-America by Baseball America following his recently completed junior season. The Mercer centerfielder is a semifinalist for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Dick Howser Trophy. Both awards honor the nation's top player, as selected by the respective organizations.
"We thought he was going to be picked before us,” said McNamara. “We’re very excited that he made it to us. He’s a 6-foot-4, middle-of-the-order potential bat that had a big year at Mercer University this year. He’s a good athlete who we believe has a lot of potential.”
During his just completed junior season at Mercer University, he hit .395 (88x223) with 70 runs, 11 doubles, 2 triples, 20 home runs, 72 RBI, 66 walks, 48 strikeouts, a .535 on-base percentage and a .731 slugging mark. Lewis ranked second nationally with a program-record 66 walks and while ranking top-15 nationally in batting average (.395) and top-six nationally in on-base percentage (.535) and runs (70). He compiled a 48-game on-base streak and 27 multi-hit performances this season.
The 6-foot-4 outfielder played for the Orleans Firebirds in the Cape Cod League last summer and was named to the Perfect Game Summer Collegiate Second Team All-America after hitting .300 (45x150) with 19 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, 24 RBI and 11 walks in 39 games. He ranked among the league leaders with 7 home runs and 24 RBI.
In three seasons at Mercer, he combined to hit .364 (196x539) with 137 runs, 33 doubles, 2 triples, 39 home runs, 145 RBI and 94 walks in 147 games. Following his sophomore season in 2015, he received the following honors: Perfect Game Summer Collegiate Second Team All-America, Cape Cod League All-Star, TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby Participant, Gregg Olson Breakout Player of the Year Award Winner, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Second Team All-America, Louisville Slugger All-America Second Team, Rawlings/ABCA Second Team All-Region, SoCon Player of the Year, All-SoCon First Team.
He was a two-sport start at Shiloh High School in Snellville, GA, lettering in baseball and basketball. In baseball, he was named a 2012 Max Preps Region 8AAAAA second team selection and a 2013 Rawlings/Perfect Game High School Senior Preseason All-America honorable mention. He was also named a Gwinnett Dugout Club All-County team honorable mention selection as a junior and named an All-County and All-State selection as a senior.
The Mariners selected infielder Joe Rizzo out of Oakton High School in Oak Hill, VA with their second selection (50th overall pick).
Rizzo, 18, was a 2016 preseason Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American and proceeded to hit .392 with 14 runs, 1 double, 4 home runs and 12 RBI during his senior season. Entering the draft, Baseball America listed him as the 40th-best prospect.
After hitting .606 (40x66) with 25 runs, 9 doubles, 7 home runs and 25 RBI in 22 games his junior season in 2015, he was named to the First-Team All-Met team, was the Virginia 6A Player of the Year and participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego. Following his sophomore campaign in 2014, he was named to the First-Team All-Concorde Conference and Second-Team All-Region selection for hitting .310 (22x71) with 14 runs, 5 doubles and 8 RBI.