PITTSBURGH – After hitting .367/.423/.677 with 17 home runs, 56 RBI and 49 runs scored in 226 at-bats in his first full season as a starter – and .300/.344/.500 with a .200 ISO in 150 plate appearances over the summer in the Cape Cod League – Mercer University centerfielder Kyle Lewis went from from being a relative unknown to a potential Top-10 pick in this year’s upcoming MLB Draft.
Lewis led the Orleans Firebirds to a 31-12 record and was named the number one prospect in the Cape Cod League 2016 Class, even drawing comparisons to Eric Davis, Mike Cameron and Adam Jones.
Now, in his second season as a full-time starter for the Bears, he is hitting .444/.563/.873 with seven home runs, 22 RBI, 20 runs and a 2:1 BB/K ratio in 63 at-bats, having just been named the Southern Conference Player of the Week last Monday after producing a .429/.538/.857 slash line with two home runs and eight RBIs, including five extra-base hits over five games.
And while the accolades have seemingly been rolling in non-stop over the past year for Lewis, the one common criticism of the former two-sport high school star that has been scaring some scouts, relative to his offensive profile, is all the moving parts Lewis has in his swing.
When evaluating Lewis’ swing, we hear things like the “swing is busier than most scouts would like” (see video below) or that he “will definitely need to quiet up the swing in pro ball” in order to have success.
These concerns, though, are a little bit unfounded when you actually break down Lewis’ swing piece-by-piece.
The part of Lewis’ swing that has scouts worried the most is his high leg lift at the outset of his swing motion that allows the bat to come down into a position where the top of the bat is cocked and pointed toward the pitcher. This ‘looseness’ in the swing is what scouts are afraid of.
But instead of starting with his bat in a frozen position and turning the bat forward toward the ball, the athletic Lewis uses a very dynamic move and works the bat behind his head as if he’s loading a punch with his back arm (yellow arrow pointing up).
From there, Lewis turns the barrel sideways over his shoulder to enter the zone from the side so that the barrel is inside the baseball and on path with the incoming pitch. He finishes with a positive approach angle and swings up through the ball, finishing with a high shoulder.
While it appears Lewis may be swinging down at contact to ball, if you track the barrel through the zone (yellow line below) it is moving sideways behind the shoulder, through the zone and up toward the path of the incoming pitch.
- Lewis is using an advanced move to develop early bat speed
- He is working the bat to the back and behind his head at the outset of the swing
- He then turns the bat sideways and up through the path of the pitch at impact
- For full video analysis from Coach Jeff Leach, click here
Special thanks to Coach Jeff Leach for the in-depth analysis of Kyle Lewis’s swing.