Seattle Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis wins the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year unanimously. Lewis had three defining moments in his ROY campaign.
Let’s be honest, are we surprised that Kyle Lewis had such an amazing 2020 rookie season? All Mariners fans were expecting big things from the former first-round pick after his short 2019 campaign where he hit six home runs in 18 games. Now as the starting center fielder in 2020, Lewis surely delivered in the shortened regular season. Kyle Lewis received a vote from every single writer from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto drafted Kyle Lewis with his first-ever draft pick as the Seattle GM. Lewis was the 11th overall selection in the 2016 draft out of Mercer University and it has taken a little longer than some Mariners fans wanted for him to break into the MLB. I am assuming the Mariners organization wanted to be careful with rushing Lewis because the team has had a bad history with rushing prospects into the big leagues.
The patience has paid dividends with him because Lewis becomes the first Mariners Rookie of the Year since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Lewis joins Ichiro, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Alvin Davis as the only Mariners players to win ROY. Lewis beat out Cristian Javier of the division rivals Astros, and highly touted Luis Robert of the White Sox. At the beginning of March, Lewis was not even in ROY conversations around the league.
In March, Jesus Luzardo and Luis Robert were the top American League contenders. Lewis was not brought into sports betting ROY conversations until the season began. And look where we are now. Robert and Lewis continued battling against each other as the top favorites for the award. Both players struggled in the second half of the season, but Lewis was able to keep his numbers up more than Robert.
Lewis ended up finishing with a .262 batting average, .801 OPS, 11 home runs, 28 RBIs, and five stolen bases. Lewis also made some highlight plays on defense throughout the season. But, Luis Robert did outplay Lewis on the defensive side. Robert took home a Gold Glove as a rookie just like Mariners’ first baseman Evan White.
To propel his AL ROY campaign, Lewis had three defining moments in 2020. Let’s look back at these three events which sparked Lewis’ 2020 ROY award discussions.