It’s not often a rehabbing major leaguer spends a full week with the High-A Everett AquaSox. But not only did Kyle Lewis play all last week for the Sox, he performed even better than one would expect.
The Seattle Mariners outfielder, who’s working his way back from a concussion, spent the entirety of last week’s six-game home series against the Vancouver Canadians with the Sox, and Lewis thrilled the Everett fans with a power display that suggested he’s nearing a return to the majors.
“He looked great,” Everett manager Eric Farris said. “I haven’t seen Kyle play all that often, he’s never been on one of my teams, but he looked great, and as far as I know looks ready to keep swinging it.”
Lewis, the 11th-overall pick in the 2016 draft and one of the cornerstones in Seattle’s rebuild, has been out since May 28, when a pitch from Houston’s Jose Urquidy glanced off his shoulder and struck him in the helmet. Lewis returned to action on July 3 with Triple-A Tacoma, but he made just one appearance with the Rainiers before the team hit the road for Reno, prompting the Mariners to switch Lewis to Everett so he didn’t have to travel.
That proved a boon for the Sox. Lewis appeared in four of the six games against Vancouver, and although he didn’t spend any time playing the field — he started as the designated hitter on each occasion — and had his plate appearances limited every game, he had an extraordinary impact at the plate as he went 4-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBI. His crowning moments came during Thursday’s 7-4 victory and Friday’s 10-5 triumph, as in both games he hit a two-run homer that gave Everett the lead for good.
“He’s a pro,” Farris said about Lewis. “He was very prepared and looked plenty healthy, and he put good at bats together. He was a great guy for these young guys to watch and understand how he goes about his business. I couldn’t have been happier to have him here.”
Alas, Lewis’ time with the Sox is up, as Everett hits the road itself this week. Farris said he didn’t know where Lewis was headed next, though with Lewis yet to see time in the outfield and Tacoma returning home this week, a return to the Rainiers for further rehab work seems a likely scenario.
Lewis’ efforts helped Everett split its six-game series in Vancouver. The Sox are now 8-7 in the second half of the Northwest League season (39-41 overall) and part of a three-team logjam in second place, just a half-game behind the Canadians.
Stars of the Week
Hitter: Noelvi Marte. Lewis actually had the best week at the plate of any Everett player, but it seems a little unfair to give the nod to the major leaguer, and Marte had himself quite the week, too. The 20-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic, who is considered the Mariners’ top prospect, continued his second-half surge as in five games he batted .500 with 11 runs, four homers, six RBI and five walks versus just two strikeouts. He was named the Northwest League Player of the Week, and his season OPS is now above .800 for the first time since April.
Pitcher: Logan Rinehart. The 24-year-old right-hander, who was selected in the 16th round of the 2019 draft, is just getting started after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow last year. He joined Everett in late June following two relief appearances with the Rookie Peoria Mariners, and last Thursday he made his second start for the Sox, tossing three hitless innings while walking two and striking out six in Everett’s victory.
The week ahead
Everett travels to Tri-City for a six-game series against the Dust Devils beginning Tuesday, then gets four days off for the All-Star break. Tri-City, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, is 6-9 in the second half (35-43 overall), which puts the Dust Devils in last place in the league standings. Tri-City is coming off a 3-3 series split at Spokane. The Sox have struggled against the Dust Devils this season, going 6-12 in the previous three series between the teams.
Tri-City is lacking top prospects, and many of their top performers (outfielder Jordyn Adams, pitchers Adam Seminaris and Braden Olthoff) are now plying their trade in Double-A. Shortstop Kyren Parris is the team’s top prospect according to MLB.com, being ranked No. 3 in the Angels’ system, but he continues to scuffle at the plate as he’s batting just .192. First baseman Gabe Matthews (.242, 11 homers, 46 RBI) has been Tri-City’s most productive hitter, while right-hander Robinson Pina (6-3, 2.53 ERA, 93/21 strikeout/walk ratio in 67.2 innings) is the top remaining pitcher.