Colby Lewis to Make MLB Return

» 14 December 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei »

Nikkan Sports and others are reporting that Hiroshima Carp ace Colby Lewis has turned down the team’s offer and will return to MLB for 2010. Lewis cited family health problems as his decision to leave the Carp.

Lewis leaves big shoes for Hiroshima to fill. He stepped in to the ace role that Hiroki Kuroda vacated, and in some ways outperformed the current Dodger. In 54 NPB games, Lewis went 26-17 with a 2.83 era, and led the Central League in strikeouts in each of the last two seasons. More impressive was his command of the strike zone, which was not his strength at the MLB level. In Japan, Lewis only walked 46 over 354.1 innings pitched. Somewhat weirdly however, he did hit 14 batters in 2009.

Lewis looks like an interesting back-rotation MLB starter to me, and could be very effective if his command makes the trip back. Please see our data site to get a feel for his arsenal.

Tags: ,

Trackback URL

  1. Patrick
    14/12/2009 at 3:59 pm Permalink

    I myself have often wondered if he would return to MLB with the success he had in NPB. While it would be sad to see him leave it’s exciting to see if he could be effective in MLB. I do believe he should interest some organization for a short term contract, maybe Orioles, Royals or Padres would be a good fit for him.

  2. Patrick
    15/12/2009 at 10:24 am Permalink

    I’d like the Bucs to take a flier on him for their 5th spot in the rotation or their depleted bullpen.

  3. Patrick
    John Brooks
    15/12/2009 at 3:19 pm Permalink

    The Orioles be a terrible fit for the fact that its the AL East, I doubt his numbers with the Carp will stand up even serviceably well against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. Lewis be smart to sign with an NL West team.

  4. Patrick
    15/12/2009 at 4:18 pm Permalink

    You could say that about almost any pitcher.

  5. Patrick
    15/12/2009 at 7:02 pm Permalink

    I’ve seen Lewis played in AAA ball while he was with the Rangers organization. He looked like a slider specialist to me. But it’s been a few years so I’m not sure if he’s still the same guy, who throws heater and nasty slider but nothing else.

    I guess command will still be an issue for him in the bigs. This is the guy who dominiates AAA hitters, but major league hitters aren’t that easy to fool by his slider. His performance will depend on how well he throws the 3rd pitch. Maybe someone who’d seenhim pitch in Japan would have better idea.

  6. Patrick
    John Brooks
    16/12/2009 at 10:00 am Permalink

    Yeah, Patrick, I’m sure you could say that about almost any pitcher in the AL East if its my response your refering too. But this a career AAA player in the 4-A mold. His MLB numbers were terrible and stat translations from NPB to MLB are always hard to calculate and guess.

    I cant find any Youtube footage of him using Japanese or English search terms so I cant judge his pitching footage. And I be very wary of any NPB-MLB stat translation for the fact that Lewis is a 4A pitcher.

    As for me, Lewis be better served in the middle relief role in MLB if you ask me where someone could not see him 3-4 times a game. I believe when you look at 2003, you get all you need to know for Lewis. You limit the amount of time opposing teams see Lewis and the better effective pitcher I believe he will be. Though if you ask me I have to say he project in the John Bale mold when he joined the Royals, maybe better if he signs with an NL West team or a AL West team not called the Rangers.

    Maybe, Patrick, can prove me wrong where he wont get ate alive in the AL East, but as someone who watches the Orioles 162 games a year, and knows the offense of New York, Boston, and Tampa I’m very hard to convince that Lewis wont get ate alive in the AL East.

  7. Patrick
    16/12/2009 at 10:12 am Permalink

    Note that I wasn’t disagreeing with you 🙂 And I’m not a big believer in stat translations between NPB and MLB either.

    However, Lewis was a lot better in NPB than Bale was, and his walk rate improved so dramatically you have to wonder if it’s NPB or him. If it’s him, he’s an interesting option.

  8. Patrick
    John Brooks
    16/12/2009 at 11:57 am Permalink

    However, Lewis was a lot better in NPB than Bale was, and his walk rate improved so dramatically you have to wonder if it’s NPB or him. If it’s him, he’s an interesting option.

    That is true, and his walk rate did improve so you do have to wonder what caused the change? Did he change his mechanics in NPB or it was it a league unfamiliar to him? I dont think any of us can define what is so, that is the problem with stat translations between MLB and NPB and especially between gaijin too, with those who were 4-A pitchers. He be a interesting option for a low-market team on the right terms, though I have my doubts if his stats will translate over the Pacific to MLB.

  9. Patrick
    16/12/2009 at 5:32 pm Permalink

    I would say his style fits the environment. NPB batters are known to do “check-swing” a lot, not because they have good batting eye but are trying to hit more foul balls.

    That’s their own way of doing strikezone judgement. If the pitch isn’t what I want, make it a foul ball.

    This approach seems to work fine against any breaking pitch other than split-type(you can’t really adjust your swing to make contact to 12-6 breaking angle pitch). But not for “great slider”. Jeff Williams is another example besides Lewis. This is the guy who has unhittable slider but bad control. And he was one of the best closers for the past couple of years.

    If you look at both Lewis and Williams’ AAA number you wouldn’t know they both had big command problem. Similiar to their Japan stats. Good K/9 ratio and BB/9 around 2.x