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Mariners notebook: Club selects Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis with 11th pick

VIDEO: MLB prospect Kyle Lewis tells story of small-school standout to first-round hopeful

Mercer junior Kyle Lewis talks about his path to the MLB draft and time playing college baseball at a "smaller school."
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Mercer junior Kyle Lewis talks about his path to the MLB draft and time playing college baseball at a "smaller school."

SEATTLE — It isn’t hard to see what the Mariners liked about Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis in selecting him Thursday with the 11th overall pick in the major-league draft.

Lewis, 20, is an All-American with projectable size at 6 feet 4 and 195 pounds. He had a 48-game streak of reaching base — Control the Zone! — while batting .395 with a .535 on-base percentage.

He also had 20 homers in 61 games.

"We thought he was going to be picked before us," said Tom McNamara, the club’s amateur scouting director. "We’re very excited that he made it to us. He’s a 6-foot-4, middle-of-the-order potential bat."

The Mariners later used their second-round pick, No. 50 overall, to select prep third baseman Joe Rizzo of Oak Hill, Va.

Lewis doesn’t lack confidence.

"I feel I’m a complete player," he said. "I think I offer a package of power and speed and being able hit for a high average and hit for power. As well as being a plus defender, I think I provide the `D.’

"Impact in a number of ways. I think I’m a complete player… I think you’re scratching the surface of what I have in the tank."

A right-handed hitter, Lewis is a center fielder who projects as a right fielder. He was picked the last two seasons as the Southern Conference player of the year and was recently chosen by Baseball America as its college player of the year.

Baseball America also ranked Lewis as the draft’s fourth-best prospect.

"Lewis is a right-handed hitter with plus-plus raw power," Baseball America reported. "He has some swing-and-miss to his game…but he’s developed a reputation for destroying mistake pitches and working at-bats until he gets the pitch he’s looking for."

Rizzo, 18, is a left-handed hitter and a preseason All-American who batted .392 as a senior at Oakton High School. He was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 38 prospect. He has signed to play collegiately at South Carolina.

"With his stocky 5-foot-11, 215-pound frame," Baseball America reported, "Rizzo shows plus raw power in batting practice that plays closer to average power in games."

The assigned bonus-pool slot for Lewis as the 11th overall pick is $3,286,700, although that amount is negotiable. Clubs often choose to exceed the slot amount for top picks by shorting other draft picks.

Major League Baseball assigns a slot value to every pick through the 10th round, and a club’s bonus pool is the sum of those totals. The Mariners have $7,136,000 in their allotment.

The slot amount for Rizzo as 50th pick is $1,252,100.

Signing bonuses in excess of $100,000 for any pick after the 10th round also count against a club’s allotment.

While clubs are permitted to exceed the slot value on any individual pick, there are penalties, including the loss of future draft picks, for exceeding their overall bonus pool.

Clubs often compensate for higher bonuses for top picks by selecting college seniors, who have reduced negotiating leverage, in the eighth, ninth or 10th rounds.

The draft consists of 40 rounds over three days. The first two rounds, and two competitive-balance rounds, took place Thursday at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J.

The remaining rounds are by teleconference with rounds three through 10 on Friday, and rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday. All drafted players except college seniors must sign by July 15 or are ineligible to do so until after next year’s draft.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

MARINERS ASSIGNED SLOT BONUSES

The Mariners have $7,136,000 is their bonus-pool allotment from Major League Baseball, which assigns a slot value to every pick through the 10th round.

Clubs can exceed the slot value for any individual pick, but there are penalties for exceeding their overall assigned allotment.

Here are the slot values for the Mariners’ picks.

First round (No. 11 overall): $7,136,000 (Mercer OF Kyle Lewis).

Second round (50): $1,252,100 (Oak Hill, Va., HS 3B Joe Rizzo).

Third round (87): $708,200.

Fourth round (117): $506,400.

Fifth round (147): $379,000.

Sixth round (177): $283,800.

Seventh round (207): $212,700.

Eighth round (237): $180,600.

Ninth round (267): $168,900.

10th round (297): $157,600.

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