Today, weâ€™re 100 days away from the start of the college baseball season and so begins our countdown of 100 things to look forward to ahead of the 2016 season. In the inaugural post,Â weâ€™re talking about Mercerâ€™s Kyle Lewis.
But first, if you missed the introductory post for the countdown, read it here.
Now back to our regularly-scheduled programming.
Perhaps no player did more for himself from a prospect standpoint this summer than Kyle Lewis.
Sure, he was already one heck of a player for Mercer and their opponents in the Southern Conference last season, and in the Atlantic Sun in 2014, have long been well aware of him. In 2015, he hit .367/.423/.677 with 19 doubles, 17 home runs, and 56 RBI. He was the SoCon Player of the Year and was named a Second-Team All-American for both Louisville Slugger and the NCBWA. That came one year after he was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman team in his debut campaign. At 6â€™4″ and right around 200 pounds, he also just looked the part of a superstar on the field.
Even still, there were questions about how good he really was. The A-Sun and SoCon are two competitive leagues, but Lewis certainly wasnâ€™t seeing the type of pitching week in and week out that his compatriots in major conferences were seeing regularly.
Those doubts, though, were shelved after an incredible summer for him in the Cape Cod League for the Orleans Firebirds. He hit an even .300 with 7 doubles, 7 home runs, and 24 RBI, all against some of the best pitchers in college baseball. That performance, coupled with his standout sophomore season, was enough for D1Baseball.com to rank him as the number one prospect in the Cape Cod League at the end of the summer.
Those accolades alone will be enough to make Lewis a household name among college baseball fans, but if things go well in the spring for Mercer, as they very well could, heâ€™ll have more chances to perform on the biggest stages with the Bears. The team will have some rebuilding to do on the mound, but they return the top four hitters from last yearâ€™s team that went 35-21 and lost a pair of one-run games as the four seed in the Tallahassee Regional. It wouldnâ€™t be a surprise if they ended up back in a similar spot in the 2016 postseason and provided a stage for Lewis to put on his best performance yet.