Former Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis is dominating Major League Baseball

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Amidst a crazy season with fewer games and strange statistics, former Bears baseball player Kyle Lewis is dominating at the plate.

Lewis, a former Mercer outfielder now playing for the MLB’s Seattle Mariners, is batting an incredible .347 over the first half of the season with an accompanying On Base Percentage of .437, both of which lead the American League according to Baseball Reference.

The only player in either the National League or American League surpassing that average is Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who is hitting .374 so far, but is still behind in OBP, sitting at .422.

Lewis’s rampage of the League is a perfect example of how anything can happen in MLB’s shortened season, one featuring only 60 games and some unexpected stars as of late. Lewis is a bright spot on a rather dull Mariners team that has racked up a 13-21 record, but he is already the talk of the league for the Rookie of the Year award, even being compared by some to Hall of Famer and Mariners icon Ken Griffey Jr.

While comparing a rookie to a legend like Griffey is putting the cart before the horse, Lewis’s hot streak this season is far from a fluke. Lewis won the Baseball America Collegiate Player of the Year Award in his 2016 season with Mercer, while also snagging the Golden Spikes Award for that season. Lewis’s meteoric rise in the college baseball realm was unexpected considering he was not a top prospect upon graduating from Shiloh High School in Georgia, but the Bears welcomed his talent on their way to a Southern Conference title in 2016.

Lewis was then drafted by the Mariners with the 11th overall selection in the 2016 MLB Player Draft. While Lewis played a small number of games at the Double-A level for Seattle from 2016 to 2018, he tore an ACL in a game for the Everett AquaSox in 2016 that limited his playing time, according to SB Nation.

After returning from the injury, however, Lewis smashed Double-A pitching and was called directly up to the majors in 2019 after skipping Triple-A level play entirely, a rarity for rookie players. Lewis mashed six home runs in just 10 games to start his career during a short stint in 2019, and has now returned to continue hitting AL pitching hard during the 2020 season.

So it seems that Kyle Lewis’s performance at the major league level is not a fluke. Time will only tell if he can obtain the AL Rookie of the Year Award that seems so deserved in the future this season.