Two days after Kyle Lewis won the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year award, the Mariners debuted a documentary about their budding superstar on their YouTube channel Wednesday. It was produced by the organization’s My Oh My productions.
“Kyle Lewis: Writing My Own Story” is an interviewed-based, 32-minute documentary with an extensive and in-depth conversation with Lewis along with interviews with his parents, high school coach and the trainer who helped worked with him in preparation for the 2020 season.
It chronicles Lewis’ exploits as a young player growing up in Snellville, Georgia, and his climb to professional baseball that featured a successful career at Mercer University and stops in the Cape Cod League. It wasn’t an easy path. Lewis mentions his struggles and failures along the way and even the disappointment of the 2016 MLB draft, where he fell from a projected Top 5 pick to No. 11, where the Mariners happily selected him.
But the most interesting aspects of the documentary was the video of the massive knee injury that Lewis suffered just 30 games into his professional career in 2016. There hadn’t been video of the play at Everett Memorial Stadium released by the organization, but the Mariners’ video shows Lewis’ right knee buckling as he tries to not avoid the catcher, and then him writhing on the ground in agony from suffering full tears to his anterior cruciate ligament, medial meniscus, lateral meniscus and a partial tear of medial cruciate ligament and knee cap damage.
“As he’s listing off (the injuries), my soul was getting crushed. I just broke down crying,” Lewis said when doctors told him about the initial injury. “I was just overwhelmed, like I got hit by a tornado.”
From there, Lewis was very open and frank about the injury, the long recovery and the frustrating setbacks that followed over the next few seasons.
He admitted that it wasn’t an easy process. And that his focus and belief he would recover fully wavered.
“Dark nights sitting there, knee’s hurting, wondering if you’re going to play or if this is going to be it for you,” he said.
From there, it focuses on Lewis’ climb through the minor-league system, his stunning MLB debut in September 2019 and his award-winning rookie season.
He led all rookies in MLB in runs scored (37), walks (34), total bases (90), times on base (88) and on-base percentage (.364), while also ranking among rookie leaders in games played (tied for first with 58), home runs (tied for first with 11), RBI (second with 28), slugging percentage (second at .437), on-base plus slugging percentage (second at .801), at-bats (second at 206), hits (tied for second with 54), multi-hit games (tied for second with 15) and batting average (third at .262).