After being selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California, Chad Lewis spent the 2011 season making the transition from high school prospect to professional baseball player. That process has involved a steep learning curve for the highly regarded corner infielder.
Lewis began the season in Phoenix, participating in the A's extended spring training camp. At the start of the short-season schedule, he was sent out to Burlington, Vermont, where he suited up for the Vermont Lake Monsters. Lewis' season was filled with ups-and-downs. He hit .292 in June, but saw his average drop to .224 and .227 in July and August, respectively. Lewis led the team in RBIs with 40, but also amassed 72 strike-outs and only 13 walks in 70 games.
Despite those ups-and-downs, Lewis enjoyed his time in the New York-Penn League.
"It was a good time. I didn't really know what to expect going in, but it ended up being a good time. I made a lot of friends and now we are close," Lewis said.
"It was definitely a learning year. Just learning routines and learning more about myself going into next year and for the future. It was a good year to have."
Lewis' time with the Lake Monsters ended on a high note. Although the team was eliminated from the post-season in the first round, Lewis had a strong series. He went four-for-11 with a homer and a triple and four RBIs in three games. It was an experience Lewis will hold onto well beyond this season.
"It's something I'll always remember, playing in the playoffs and hitting a homerun in my first year," Lewis said.
"That was definitely a big thing for me. As a team, we were good. We just came up short. In the end, we had a good time and it was a good experience."
After the season, Lewis was invited to the A's fall Instructional League for a second consecutive year. Lewis has enjoyed his second tour through the A's fall Instructional League camp.
"It's been going good. It actually gives you some time to work on the things they want you to work on, stuff you can't work on during the season," Lewis said on the second-to-last day of camp.
"You work on it during the day and hope it carries over into the games."Coming into Instructs, Lewis had a clear idea of the areas of his game that he needed to improve. At the plate, he has spent this fall season working on being more selective and recognizing pitches earlier. In the field, he has been working on his consistency and has continued to gain experience at first base, as well as his natural third base position.
During the Vermont season, Lewis split time at both third and first base with A's 2011 13th-round pick Jacob Tanis. Although he still considers himself primarily a third baseman, Lewis has enjoyed learning his new position and believes the added versatility will help him develop both on defense and at the plate.
"I like playing first. That gives me something else I can keep in my back pocket in case anything was to happen. I'm happy to have that as my back-up position," Lewis said.
"Playing time is key. As long as I can get those at-bats in whatever way, I can get better."