Through the month of March, leading up to MLB Opening Day on April 1,
Sports Spectrum is highlighting 21 Christ-following players to watch in 2021.
Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis didn’t garner much attention in the lead-up to his first full season in the majors, but the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year is on everyone’s radar heading into 2021.
Lewis hit .262 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs in 58 games during the abbreviated season, becoming the 12th unanimous winner of the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award since its creation in 1947. He led all AL rookies in runs (37), walks (34) and total bases (90) while tying White Sox outfielder Luis Robert for the most home runs.
The 25-year-old Lewis wasted no time making an impact after getting promoted straight to the big leagues from Double-A in September 2019. He hit three home runs in his first three games with the Mariners and was the first player ever to go yard in six of their first 10 games.
Lewis’ path to becoming one of the most promising young players in baseball made him appreciate the success he had last season even more. In his junior year at Mercer, Lewis was named the Baseball America College Player of the Year and received the Golden Spikes Award as college baseball’s most outstanding player.
That led the Mariners to take him 11th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. Less than two months later, Lewis tore his ACL playing in a minor-league game. The rehab process taught Lewis the value of perseverance and dedication.
“I think it teaches so much respect,” he told MLB.com after winning Rookie of the Year. “It was definitely not a conventional path, but I think there’s a lot of lessons in that, and I try to appreciate that. Keep plugging away, keep chipping away. Put your head down and work.”
The injury reminded Lewis that God is ultimately in control and the best thing he can do is embrace surrender.
“The biggest thing that I learned about myself was that I shouldn’t try to control everything,” Lewis said in 2017. “I feel as though, a lot of times, you try to control every situation and have your hands on every situation. I’ve tried to take my hands away and let it be what it is going to be and let God be in control of my life.”
Lewis has consistently praised God on social media during his rise to prominence. He often ends his posts with “#GTG,” which stands for “Glory to God.”
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He’s also taken an active role in the Seattle community, working with other Black Mariners players to create Hometown Nine. Part of the Mariners Care Foundation, Hometown Nine works to improve the baseball and softball experiences of local youth of color by committing to provide five years of financial support and mentorship to nine incoming eighth graders.
Lewis was paired with Tycean Martin, who has faced plenty of adversity as well. Martin was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, leaving the left side of his heart severely underdeveloped. The two have formed a strong bond built around their shared love of baseball and Martin’s designer shoe business.
“His story is different than mine, but it’s cool to be inspirational to anybody that I can,” Lewis told MLB.com. “He’s had a lot to deal with. To show that resilience, I look up to him the same way he looks up to me.”
— Kyle Lewis unanimously wins AL Rookie of the Year as he aims to glorify God
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