Prospect Profile: Colby Lewis

Colby Lewis was a highly regarded prospect in the Texas organization, that is up until a torn rotator cuff ended his 2004 just three starts in. The Rangers elected to risk losing Lewis, and indeed they did, as the Tigers took a gamble on him. Now the question becomes, can Colby turn into the pitcher he was once projected to be?

Colby Lewis
Position: Right handed Pitcher Height: 6-4 Weight: 215
Born: 8/2/1979 Bats: RightThrows: Right

Despite not really being a prospect, having logged 175+ innings with Texas, Lewis is included on this list for two reasons: Because he is basically starting from scratch after rotator cuff surgery in 2004, and for informational purposes. Colby was originally a 1st round choice by the Texas Rangers out of Bakersfield Junior College in 1999. Lewis posted solid numbers throughout the minor leagues, and was rated as one of the top prospects in the Rangers' organization. Despite such lofty accolades, Lewis has struggled at the Major League level, posting a 6.83 ERA during his big league tenure. Claiming Lewis off the waiver wire was exactly the type of low risk, high reward move the Tigers need to be taking. If Colby can regain his velocity, he could be a steal for an organization in need of a few breaks.

Scouting Report
Lewis is another big, hard-throwing pitcher in the mold of those Dave Dombrowski covets. With a fastball that consistently sits in the 93-95 range with great movement, Lewis often has a dominating presence on the mound. The biggest problem Lewis faces is controlling the ridiculous movement he generates on his fastball. Often times, it moves so much, he has trouble making the necessary corrections to keep it in the strike zone. Just like his fastball, Lewis' curve is an outstanding pitch that falls off the table when on. Unfortunately, when it is on, it is so good, he has trouble controlling that pitch as well. While with the Rangers, Lewis added a slider and change-up, both of which are merely "show-me" pitches that are intended to keep opposing hitters off balance. In the field, Lewis often looks like a "fish out of water." Colby lacks the necessary coordination to navigate the quick reactions necessary to successfully field his position. He understands baseball concepts, and pitching theory, but has difficulty implementing them as a result of his poor coordination.
























Health Record
As mentioned above, Lewis missed the 2004 season as a result of surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. The 2005 season will be a continuation of his rehabilitation process as he tries to regain his velocity and learn some control. It will be a difficult process, but rehab methods are improving rapidly, and Lewis could return to prior form.

The Future
Without any setbacks to his rehab, Lewis will likely begin the 2005 season as the veteran anchor in the Toledo rotation. Having experienced significant success in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in 2002 and 2003, Lewis could be a dominating force in the International League. It will be difficult to expect too much from Colby this season, as his rehab is not complete, but as long as he continues to make progress toward regaining his velocity, and controlling his plus arsenal, the signing still has a chance to add value to the organization. Lewis could see time in Detroit late this season, but would be more likely to have a shot at the rotation heading into the 2006 campaign.

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