Seattle Mariners

Seattle takes OF Kyle Lewis with 11th pick in baseball draft

Meet the Seattle Mariners' first-round pick Kyle Lewis

Mercer University junior Kyle Lewis talks about his path to the Major League Baseball draft and his time playing college baseball at a "smaller school" in Macon, Georgia.
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Mercer University junior Kyle Lewis talks about his path to the Major League Baseball draft and his time playing college baseball at a "smaller school" in Macon, Georgia.

It isn’t hard to see what the Mariners liked about Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis in selecting him Thursday with the 11th overall pick in the major-league draft.

Lewis, 20, is an All-American with projectable size at 6 feet 4 and 195 pounds. He had a 48-game streak of reaching base — Control the Zone! — while batting .395 with a .535 on-base percentage.

He also had 20 homers in 61 games.

“We thought he was going to be picked before us,” said Tom McNamara, the club’s amateur scouting director. “We’re very excited that he made it to us. He’s a 6-foot-4, middle-of-the-order potential bat.”

Lewis doesn’t lack confidence.

“I feel I’m a complete player,” he said. “I think I offer a package of power and speed and being able hit for a high average and hit for power. As well as being a plus defender, I think I provide the ‘D.’

“Impact in a number of ways. I think I’m a complete player. … I think you’re scratching the surface of what I have in the tank.”

A right-handed hitter, Lewis is a center fielder who projects as a right fielder. He was picked the last two seasons as the Southern Conference player of the year and was recently chosen by Baseball America as its college player of the year. Lewis just finished his junior season at Mercer.

Baseball America also ranked Lewis as the draft’s fourth-best prospect.

“Lewis is a right-handed hitter with plus-plus raw power,” Baseball America reported. “He has some swing-and-miss to his game … but he’s developed a reputation for destroying mistake pitches and working at-bats until he gets the pitch he’s looking for.”

The assigned bonus-pool slot for Lewis as the 11th overall pick is $3,286,700, although that amount is negotiable. Clubs often choose to exceed the slot amount for top picks by shorting other draft picks.

Major League Baseball assigns a slot value to every pick through the 10th round, and a club’s bonus pool is the sum of those totals. The Mariners have $7,136,000 in their allotment.

In the second round, the Mariners picked Joe Rizzo, a third baseman from Oakton High School in Virginia. The slot amount for the Mariners’ second-round pick, No. 50 overall, is $1,252,100.

Signing bonuses in excess of $100,000 for any pick after the 10th round also count against a club’s allotment.

While clubs are permitted to exceed the slot value on any individual pick, there are penalties, including the loss of future draft picks, for exceeding their overall bonus pool.

Clubs often compensate for higher bonuses for top picks by selecting college seniors, who have reduced negotiating leverage, in the eighth, ninth or 10th rounds.

The draft consists of 40 rounds over three days. The first two rounds, and two competitive-balance rounds, took place Thursday at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J.

The remaining rounds are by teleconference with rounds three through 10 on Friday, and rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday. All drafted players except college seniors must sign by July 15 or are ineligible to do so until after next year’s draft.

HERNANDEZ UPDATE

Right-hander Felix Hernandez was scheduled to undergo a follow-up examination Thursday to determine his progress in recovering from a strained right calf muscle.

“He’s feeling a little bit better,” manager Scott Servais said. “But it’s not moving at the pace he was hoping it would. He’s keeping his arm active, which is good. He’s throwing the cage. Keeping it loose. But, again, it’s not the same.”

Hernandez hasn’t pitched since a May 27 loss to Minnesota. He is eligible to return Sunday from the disabled list but isn’t expected back, at the earliest, until the end of the month.

ROTATION SWITCH

Servais confirmed plans to shuffle his rotation next week by separating left-handers James Paxton and Wade Miley after Monday’s open date in the schedule.

Paxton will jump ahead of Hisashi Iwakuma in the next cycle and start June 16 at Tampa Bay. Because of the open date, Paxton will remain on his regular work schedule.

Iwakuma will start June 17 in the series opener at Boston, which means he will get two extra days of rest following his scheduled start Friday against Texas. Miley will followed Iwakuma in the rotation in Boston.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

MARINERS ASSIGNED SLOT BONUSES

The Mariners have $7,136,000 is their bonus-pool allotment from Major League Baseball, which assigns a slot value to every pick through the 10th round.

Clubs can exceed the slot value for any individual pick, but there are penalties for exceeding their overall assigned allotment.

Here are the slot values for the Mariners’ picks.

First round (No. 11 overall): $7,136,000 (Mercer OF Kyle Lewis).

Second round (50): $1,252,100. (Oakton HS 3B Joe Rizzo)

Third round (87): $708,200.

Fourth round (117): $506,400.

Fifth round (147): $379,000.

Sixth round (177): $283,800.

Seventh round (207): $212,700.

Eighth round (237): $180,600.

Ninth round (267): $168,900.

10th round (297): $157,600.

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