Marc on Colby Lewis

I thought I was pretty smart. This past Friday, I noticed that Colby Lewis was making his triumphant return to the Majors. As many of you know, our very own Carson Cistulli has a Texas-sized Man Crush on Mr. Lewis. I suggested to Carson that we should both watch the game and post a duel article on Monday (today) commenting on Lewis’ start. I should have realized that my “bright ideas” always backfire.

Instead of getting to publicly laugh in Carson’s face, I have to eat crow: Lewis actually pitched well. Prior to his self-imposed banishment to Japan, Lewis had appeared in parts of five MLB seasons and posted a 5.79 FIP, 5.14 BB/9 and 6.34 K/9. Hardly exciting stuff.

But then something happened to Lewis in Japan… He apparently learned how to be a pitcher. This past Friday night, he held the Mariners lineup (albeit not a scary collection of hitters) to just one run in seven innings. He allowed five hits and four walks in the game, while also striking out three.

I am a little worried about Lewis going forward because he allowed a lot of fly ball outs (10) and Texas is known for being a pretty good place to hit for power. As well, his control was clearly better than his command – but both are significantly improved from what he previous MLB numbers would suggest. He’s also going to have to find a reliable third pitch (either his curve or change-up) because his fastball-slider combo is not going to be enough once a scouting report on Lewis starts to circulate.

I’m willing to admit that Lewis may not be quite as bad as I thought he was going to be this season, but I still predict a modest WAR this season in the 1.5 to 2.5 range. I think he’ll give Texas some much-needed innings, but he’s going to have some bad games when his fastball command is off and his pitches catch too much of the plate.



Print This Post



Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


Comments Are Loading Now!