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Kyle Lewis Is the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year

November 9, 2020, was a special day in Seattle Mariners’ history. Outfielder Kyle Lewis has been voted American League Rookie of the Year for his awesome 2020 season.  He was called up to the Majors on September 10, 2019, from the Double-A affiliate Arkansas Travelers and he had a solid two-week cameo in the big leagues, hitting six home runs in 18 games along with 13 runs batted in.

The Seattle Mariners invited him to 2020 spring training in Peoria, Arizona. He was expected to fight for a starting job in CF with Mallex Smith.  It was a good competition between the two of them throughout the month of March until the coronavirus pandemic forced Major League Baseball to shut down until early July. 

Kyle Lewis: The 2020 Season

Major League Baseball announced that teams would have the chance to resume their season, but it was shortened to 60 games.  Kyle Lewis spent the pandemic working out in Arizona at their facility with the hitting and outfield coaches. He continued to progress from where he left off in spring training.

The Mariners coaching staff was very impressed with his attention to detail as a hitter and outfielder. They realized they had a gem in Kyle Lewis that would produce in the lineup. He continued to hit home runs and line drives in the summer camp at T-Mobile Park (Seattle) in preparation for the shortened season. After Lewis homered off of Seattle pitcher, Marco Gonzales, in summer camp, Gonzalez predicted to the local media that Lewis would be the Rookie of the Year.

Lewis’ season was very impactful. He led all rookies in the American League with 37 runs scored, 34 walks, and 90 total bases. He played 58 out of 60 games. Lewis was tied with another rookie from the Chicago White Sox, Luis Robert, with 11 home runs, and finished second with 54 hits, 28 RBIs, and was tied for fifth with five stolen bases.

He still ranked first in on-base percentage with .340, a slugging percentage of .437, and an OPS of .801. Lewis was second in batting averages for rookies with .262. It was an impressive first full season in the big leagues for Kyle Lewis. He made an impact on the young ballclub in Seattle, which is expected to be a contender in the future.

Outcome of Voting

The Baseball Writers Association Rookie of the Year Award was announced on the MLB Network on television across the United States. Voters in American League cities would vote for American League Rookies. The finalists (announced in October) were Christian Javier of the Houston Astros, Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox, and Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners. 

Most people from the media outlets and social media said Kyle Lewis was the front runner for the award, but baseball fans had to wait two weeks after the final out of the World Series was made to know for sure.  It was hard for Mariners’ fans to wait for the outcome since the Mariners ended their season at the end of September.

The BBWAA unanimously voted Kyle Lewis for the Rookie of the Year award with 30 first-place votes. It capped off Kyle Lewis’ impressive rookie season in this shortened year. In the past, there have only been 12 rookies voted unanimously as the Rookie of the Year in Major League Baseball. 

Kyle Lewis is the fourth Mariner to be the Rookie of the Year in the franchise’s history; the first three are Alvin Davis in 1984, Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000, and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. 

Future

Kyle Lewis was interviewed by the Seattle media an hour after the award was announced. He said that he wants to still improve in all facets of the game, and he wants to continue to learn the game.  That’s impressive from a young man that was drafted in the first round in 2016, despite going through adversity in his minor league years. 

He is expected to be one of the core players going into the future for the Seattle Mariners.  Expect him to have an awesome career in Seattle, as he leads the young club into contention. Seattle fans are excited for him and the direction of the organization for the future.

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