School: Mercer University; Class: Junior
Position: OF; B/T: R/R
Height: 6–4; Weight: 195
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Lewis had quite the breakout year during his sophomore campaign at Mercer University last season. After making just over 100 trips to the plate as a true freshman in 2014, the linebacker-like outfielder slugged .367/.423/.677 with 19 doubles and 17 homeruns in 254 plate appearances. That production earned him plenty of recognition:
2015 SoCon Player of the Week
2015 SoCon Player of the Month
2015 SoCon Player of the Year
2015 Gregg Olson Award Finalist
2015 Rawlings/ABCA All-South Region Second Team
2015 Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American
NCBWA Second Team All-American
Lewis also earned a shot – and responded quite well – in the Cape Cod Summer League, hitting .300 with seven doubles, one triple, and seven homeruns in 39 games.
This year Lewis has upped the ante even further, mashing to the tune of .425/.554/.774 with 10 doubles, two triples, 17 homeruns, and six stolen bases in 11 attempts.
The best part, however, is the fact that he’s improved his lackluster strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2015, 41-to-19, to a far more impressive 39-to-55.
Projection: Just to kind of put Lewis production into perspective a bit, considering the following: Since 2011 there have been three other instances of Division I players that have batted .400/.500/.700 in a season in which they’ve slugged more than 15 homeruns in at least 180 at bats – D.J. Peterson, a former first round pick, C.J. Cron, another first round pick, and Trenton Moses, who wasn’t grabbed until the 26th round in 2012.
But this also highlights something quite concerning: Peterson hasn’t solved Class AA across parts of two seasons, Cron’s been essentially a league average hitter, maybe a touch better, and Moses never made it above High Class A. Lewis is clearly feasting off of inferior, low level-ish DI competition, and while he’s made tremendous strides in the plate discipline department he’s fanned in nearly 16% of his plate appearances – a staggeringly high number for a player in the Southern Conference.
Lewis’ power potential is quite tantalizing, but there’s an awful lot of risk involved in selecting him early in the draft as well.
Ceiling: 2.5–win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Grade: First Round