Kyle Lewis: Mariners 2020 Rookie Of The Year
Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis entered September as the clear favorite for American League Rookie of the Year. Through his first 36 games he hit .328 with eight homers, 21 RBIs and 21 walks.
Then came "The Catch," Lewis’ signature moment.
In a Sept. 14 home game against the Athletic, Lewis leapt off two feet and got enough air to lift his shoulders level with the top of the wall in left-center field. By the time he finally landed his teammates were reveling, and soon Lewis was, too, because he had robbed a sure grand slam from Ramon Laureano.
It reminded Mariners fans of Ken Griffey Jr.’s sensational home-run robbing catch of Jesse Barfield on April 26, 1990. Not just for the flair, but the unbridled joy and emotion both Lewis and Griffey displayed running back to the dugout.
The 25-year-old Lewis was asked about that comparison to Griffey afterward. It wasn’t the first time Lewis had reminded Mariners faithful of the Hall of Famer.
“Humbling comparison,” Lewis said. “To be able to make plays is something I take pride in, especially wearing a Seattle uniform—because we know who the legend is out there.
“It’s cool to see those comparisons. I just take them in stride and keep it going so I can continue to write my story. Everybody’s got their own story to write. And I’ve got mine.”
Though Lewis struggled offensively for much of September, hitting .147 with three homers in 22 games, his overall production and "The Catch" help set him apart among rookies.
Lewis, the 11th overall pick in 2016 out of Mercer, hit .262/.364/.437 in 58 games. He tied White Sox outfielder Luis Robert for the rookie lead with 11 homers and led rookies outright with 34 walks.
“He’s having a really good year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said during the season. “I absolutely think that he deserves to be Rookie of the Year. He does something to help you win every day.”