Phillies Potential Top Draft Pick: Kyle Lewis

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Mercer University outfielder Kyle Mercer is being considered by the Phillies for the top overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. (Photo Credit: mercerbears.com)
Mercer University outfielder Kyle Mercer is being considered by the Phillies for the top overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. (Photo Credit: mercerbears.com) /
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The Philadelphia Phillies hold the top overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft just two weeks from now, and we’ve been looking at the top possibilities for months now here at TBOH.

It’s been a surprisingly successful season so far for the 2016 Phillies. After beating Detroit this afternoon, they have a 26-21 record and are amazingly right in the middle of the National League playoff race in late May.

While they are not likely to maintain that pace for the rest of the year, manager Pete Mackanin‘s squad has certainly given fans reason to be excited for the future of Phillies baseball.

Odubel Herrera is getting better and better as a leadoff man.  Recently promoted 1st base prospect Tommy Joseph, who was the centerpiece of the Hunter Pence trade to the Giants, has started off strong in his first few big league games.

Aaron Nola seems unflappable on the mound, and is showing promise that he will be a fixture at the front end of the Phillies rotation for years to come. Vincent Velasquez is making the Ken Giles to the Astros trade look like an absolute steal for the Phillies in his first year with the team.

In addition to all of this, the team will select the first overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft on June 9th, just two weeks from now. Getting this pick right could speed up the rebuild immensely, and one player that could help them quickly is Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis.

Lewis stands at 6’4″ and weighs in at 210 pounds. He is 20 years old and currently playing in his junior year at Mercer.

The outfielder has posted a ridiculous .411/.545/.729 slash line this season, with 17 home runs and 64 RBI in 56 games played. He has 61 walks to just 43 strikeouts in 207 at bats, which demonstrates a good eye at the plate.

Lewis also plays solid defense, covering a ton of ground in the outfield. His scouting report from Fueled by Sports compares him to both Justin Upton and Jayson Heyward.

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The one knock on Lewis has been that Mercer does not face the strongest collegiate competition, but it’s still hard to ignore the outstanding numbers that he has put up this season.

The Fightins early success this season has been fueled by their outstanding pitching staff, but they have been very weak on the offensive side of the ball. The team is averaging just 3.20 runs per game, which is currently ranked 29th out of 30 MLB teams.

Players like Joseph, Herrera, and Tyler Goeddel, the top pick in last December’s Rule 5 Draft, have showed offensive promise of late. However, the Phillies still need a strong middle of the order bat to team with 3rd baseman Maikel Franco if they want to contend.

Franco is having a solid but not great year. He needs another power threat to protect him in the lineup. Lewis could potentially be that player, having emerged as a sleeper pick in this year’s draft.

He was ranked at #1 in MLB.com’s mock draft earlier this month.  The conventional thinking up until that point had the Phillies taking a pitcher such as Jason Groome or A.J. Puk, but neither pitcher is a sure thing.

Groome has top of the rotation potential, but as a high school pitcher, he will take longer to develop and is a riskier move for the Phils. 

Puk has been brilliant at times this season, but he has also struggled and battled some back spasms . A lot can happen between now and June 9th, but if the Phillies are thinking college bat, don’t be surprised to hear the name Kyle Lewis at 1:1.

This article will conclude a regular series that I have been providing here at TBOH on the top draft possibles for the Phils to select with that top pick.

Next: Franco Sprains Ankle, Questionable for Weekend

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