Coming in at number 9 on the Top 10 Mariners players right now is center fielder Kyle Lewis. This is choice was very difficult for me to arrive at, especially putting him ahead of Paul Sewald. Sewald had an incredible season last year, but this is about where Lewis has been, and where he is going. The likelihood that Sewald takes a step forward and is better this year is highly unlikely, and in my opinion, the chance Kyle Lewis takes that leap forward is much greater and puts him at number 9.
Mariners Top 10 Players Right Now – Kyle Lewis
Kyle Lewis burst onto the scene at the end of 2019 when he hit three home runs in his first three games. He finished with 6 bombs in his 18 games played that September. He looked like he would be a fine corner outfield bat with power. He changed his perception the next year big time. After coming back to the second Spring Training at T-Mobile Park, he looked different. He looked far more athletic than he had in 2019 and looked like an actual center fielder.
He then went on to have one of the better rookie seasons (only in a 60 game season, however) in recent history. He slashed .262/.364/.437 with a 127 wRC+ and a 1.7 WAR in only 58 games. His short season was a tale of two halves however. In the first half of 2020, he slashed .368/.456/.585 with a 191 wRC+. That is truly remarkable and would make him an immediate MVP candidate. However, he only went hit .150 in the second half, dragging his numbers down.
Looking at those first-half numbers excites me so much when thinking about Kyle Lewis. His absolute upside is a dominant offensive player who can play a decent center field. He flashed the leather in 2020 several times, robbing home runs, and making great plays.
2021 however, was a return to injuries for the 2020 Rookie of the Year. He ran into a wall in Spring Training, costing him the beginning of the year. He then hurt his meniscus not too long after he came back. He only played in 36 games last year, but there have been some videos out there of Lewis putting in the work in the offseason, and taking some swings. The hope is that he can be ready by the start of the big league season, whenever that is.
The reason that Lewis ranks number 9 on my list is that he has the talent to be an average player at worst. He may not be the pure center fielder that he was in 2020, but if he is 80% of that defensively, then that is still average defense in center field. He has the ability to be right up there with Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez in terms of future star potential.
Fans have already seen it with Lewis, and I believe that he will at least be an average player this year. This could be the year where he plays a whole season and builds on this and starts to turn himself into a star going forward. He truly has that star upside, and we saw the smile that Lewis plays with, the energy, and the excitement that he has for the game. He is truly a fan favorite, and that is why he is number 9 for me.