Can Kyle Lewis Revive His Career in Arizona?

Can Kyle Lewis Revive His Career in Arizona?
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It has been a rough past two years for outfielder Kyle Lewis. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2020, he has struggled to stay on the field for the Seattle Mariners. After playing a combined 54 games in 2021 and 2022, Lewis has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. And it may be the perfect situation for the former top prospect to have a bounce-back season.

The Seattle Years

Lewis was the 11th overall draft pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. At one point during his time in the minor leagues, he was a part of the Top 100 Prospect list in 2018. He later made his debut in 2019 and immediately showed promise. In 71 plate appearances, Lewis had 19 hits and 13 RBIs. Of those 19 hits, 11 of them were extra-base hits, five doubles, and six home runs. He totaled a .592 slugging percentage in 18 games, along with a .885 OPS and 131 OPS+.

The shortened 2020 season is served as a breakout party for Lewis. In 58 games for the Mariners, Lewis hit .262/.364/.437 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs. He had shown potential for a more complete game offensively; in 242 at-bats, he drew 34 walks to 71 strikeouts. He also stole five bases in six attempts. Lewis unanimously won Rookie of the Year honors over Chicago’s Luis Robert and Cristian Javier of the Houston Astros.

However, Kyle Lewis could not build on his strong 2020 season in the next two years. In 2021, he struggled with right knee problems, first a torn meniscus and then a bone bruise. In 2022, he only appeared in 18 games before being optioned to Triple-A Tacoma, where he remained for the remainder of the season.

On Thursday, The Mariners traded Lewis to Arizona for outfielder/catcher Cooper Hummel. Lewis had become part of a crowded outfield in Seattle between veterans Jesse Winker and newly acquired Teoscar Hernandez. Youngsters Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, and Taylor Trammell has also become a priority over Lewis in Seattle,

 

Kyle Lewis in Arizona

While Seattle is a team in win-now mode, Arizona is in more of a patient position. The D-Backs are also working with a talented, young, and crowded outfield. Lewis joins Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas, and Corbin Carroll, all guys who can play center field. Although Lewis is not a horrible defensive outfielder, he has never had a positive Defensive Wins Above Replacement rating in his career. It is likely that he either moves to the corner outfield or stays as a designated hitter. However, he is likely the most talented offensive player in the group.

One thing you may see more of with Kyle Lewis in Arizona is him being more aggressive on the basepaths. In 2020, Lewis averaged a 27.9 sprint speed, which is above average. The D-Backs ranked 4th in the National League last season with 104 stolen bases. Lewis is seven for eight in stolen base attempts in 130 career games, so there is a chance that he is encouraged to be more aggressive there,

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