In the early 90’s Parker Lewis was a too cool for school teenager that couldn’t lose. Wikipedia defined him as “a smart guy with a penchant for garish shirts and cutting classes”. The show had a very Ferris Bueller feel. Parker, the title character, usually had a plan up his sleeve which almost always involved outsmarting someone else. He ruled his school by bending the rules and avoiding his principal, who was determined to bring him down. Rooney eats it! Here’s an interesting fact, there actually was a Ferris Bueller spinoff that aired during the same time as Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and Parker beat out the spinoff. Talk about irony.
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In 2019 Kyle Lewis was called up in September for the proverbial “cup of coffee”. Fun fact, in 45 years I have never had an actual cup of coffee. Not quite sure that was a fun fact, but it is a fact. Back to Lewis. In 18 games and 75 plate appearances he smashed 5 doubles and 6 home runs. He scored 10 runs and drove in 13. In points leagues, however, a lot of his production was offset by his 29 strikeouts (38.7 rate), giving him only 39 points over those 18 games. The result was 0.52 points per plate appearance and 2.16 points per game. Neither of those numbers jump off the page. But then again it was only 18 games and on most accounts, an exciting MLB debut.
Expectations had been set for what would be his rookie season in 2020. From a points league perspective he gave us a nearly identical output from his 18 game stint the year before. In a pandemic shortened 60-game season, Kyle Lewis yielded 0.52 points per plate appearance and 2.18 points per game over 58 games. His strikeout rate dropped to 29.3 percent, but so did his slugging percentage which fell to .437 from .592. After all, 6 home runs every 18 games wasn’t really a pace anyone expected him to maintain given he had only hit 30 homers over 287 minor league games. For fun I just ran his minor league points numbers and in those 287 games in 4 seasons, Lewis averaged 0.51 points per plate appearance and 2.17 points per game. Where have we seen those numbers before?
After winning the American League Rookie of the Year award, the first for Seattle since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001, Lewis was once again a sought after player in fantasy drafts. His ADP in 2021 points league drafts was around 104, which made him a 9th round pick in 12-team leagues. To say he fell short of expectations would be an understatement. Unfortunately, his season was cut drastically short when he was placed on the IL on June 1st after tearing his right meniscus. Before the injury and undergoing season-ending surgery to repair the meniscus, Klew (that’s my new nickname for him) had 5 home runs, 11 RBIs, 16 walks and 37 strikeouts over 36 games. In points leagues he was worth a whopping 60 points. Comparing that to his previous numbers, he was at 0.41 points per plate appearance and 1.67 points per game. Pitiful to say the least.
So what should we expect in 2022? That’s a difficult question to ask. Word on the street is that his knee is ready to go. But is it? Back in 2016, his debut season in the Minor Leagues was ended when he tore is ACL, medial and lateral meniscus. Before the injury he was mashing in the Northwest League. Any guess which knee it was? If you guess his right knee, you’d be right. Scary, right? Right. So it’s no secret that Klew has a right knee that would maybe sell on Craigslist for approximately half the price of a healthy knee. Heck, I’d offer him less and see how low he’d be willing to go.
So this begs the question, is Kyle Lewis worth drafting this year. The answer to this question is the same I will give you for any player that is expected to play, it depends on when you can draft him. In head-to-head points leagues, his current ADP is approximately 228. That sticks him in the 19th round in 12-team leagues and 23rd in 10-team leagues. Does he hold any value being selected at that point in the draft? Let’s see if we can figure that out.
Since I smashed the crystal ball Tim Lincecum sold to me back in 2014, I will have use good old fashioned math. And not the new-fangled math they are hocking in schools these days.
My way too early rankings, projections and estimations have Klew ranked about 275 overall. He might even be a few spots lower than that, but I’m going to use the rounding feature on my Commodore 128. This thing is pretty sweet! A ranking of 275 puts a player in the 23rd round in 12-team leagues. That’s a bit lower than his current ADP and would leave one to the conclusion that he’s not worth drafting at his ADP. That’s the simple “if A is greater than B and B is greater than C, then A must be greater than C” rule.
To date I have participated in three points league drafts. In a mock draft from a month ago with the gurus over at CBS, I drafted Lewis with the 197th pick. Why so early? At that point in the draft, round 17 of 21, I had already filled out the starting spots in my outfield and felt like taking a chance with Lewis on my bench. In my RazzSlam draft I drafted him in the 24th round (pick 294), which sounds more inline with his value on paper. I was very happy to snag him in that spot. In case you are wondering why I am mentioning my RazzSlam draft in a points league post, well RazzSlam is a points league. And finally, in a ten-team draft with some close friends, I drafted Lewis in the 25th round, which was the second to last round.
Based on the numbers, I’d have to say drafting Kyle Lewis might not be the best investment. His ADP is round 19, but his projections say round 23. Looking at that I’d suggest passing on Lewis.
Can you believe I just wrote this whole post telling you not draft Kyle Lewis, but then in the same sentence I am going to tell you to ignore everything you just read and draft him anyway! Can you believe the cajones on me? Like a bull. Seriously. Ask Grey. He checks all his writers before they come aboard. Just kidding, he doesn’t really check. At least not in person, we have to send him a picture. Good thing for the internet and Photoshop.
The Case For Klew
Here’s the deal. By the time we get to round 20 in points league drafts we are really just throwing darts. For me, ADP goes out the window several rounds before. At some point you have to start taking some chances. The way I see it, Lewis’s floor is 0.52 points per plate appearance. If he can stay in the Mariners lineup and show a little bit of improvement in his age 26 season, he could prove to be a decent investment for a round 20 selection. You don’t lose leagues by making a crappy pick in the 20th round, but you can put yourself in a better place to win by having your late round selections outperform their expectations. I know that statement can be made for any selection, but it’s the late rounds where there is less pressure to nail your picks and where there is the most opportunity to make gains.
I think most are very pessimistic on Lewis. That includes drafters and projectors. The latter has a direct influence on the former. I’m going to make a bold prediction. If he remains healthy, Klew is going to hit 25 home runs and bat .260. And if I’m wrong you’re out a round 20 pick. Boo freaking hoo!
What would Parker Lewis say when faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to take a gamble on Kyle Lewis? I’m going with “Not a problem”. Now synchronize Swatches and pencil him into your draft plans. Or don’t.
In my next post I’m going to explain why Mike Trout should be a top three pick. Stay tuned…
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