According to local sources, top members of the Atlanta Braves’ front office held a private meeting Monday with Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis, one of the top prospects for next month’s amateur draft. The Braves have the third overall pick in the first round.
It’s normal for teams that have a high pick to meet with players and possibly arrange pre-draft agreements, so the Braves’ interest in Lewis may be to potentially gauge his interest in such a deal.
Lewis is hitting .432 with 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 48 games for the Bears. His on base percentage is .561 and his slugging percentage is .801.
Lewis is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound outfielder from Snellville, Georgia. He attended Shiloh High School. The right-handed hitting Lewis hit .367 in his sophomore season with 17 home runs and 56 runs batted in.
Lewis turns 21 on July 13. In the Mercer baseball media guide, Lewis lists Adam Jones as his favorite athlete. Jones is often a player used in scouting circles as a comparison for Lewis.
Scout.com reported in February that Braves general manager John Coppolella and scouting director Brian Bridges traveled to the University of Florida to meet with A.J. Puk and Buddy Reed, two other top prospects. It’s unclear if either or both Coppolella and Bridges met with Lewis.
The Braves have mentioned an interest in college bats for the high draft pick. The team spent 20 of its first 26 picks on pitchers last year in the draft. The team has a history of picking kids from the state of Georgia, making Lewis a potential perfect fit.
Most of the Braves’ top prospects are pitchers. Last year’s top pick in the draft, Dansby Swanson, was traded to Atlanta last December in the Shelby Miller trade. With the emphasis on pitching thus far in the rebuilding process, the Braves are expected to have more position players targeted for this year’s draft.
The Braves also have pick 40 in the competitive balance round A that was acquired from the Marlins in the three-team deal with the Dodgers last summer. They also have pick 44, the third pick in the second round.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.