2013 Stats: 0-1, 7.00 ERA in Double-A Frisco, 0-1, 9.00 ERA in Triple-A Round Rock
Salary: Minor league contract
Each week, we will look at key players on the Texas Rangers 25-man roster, and this week we look at the Rangers’ veteran starter, Colby Lewis.
Year in Review: After undergoing season-ending right hip resurfacing surgery on August 22, 2012, Lewis spent all of 2013 trying to do something no MLB player has done before, play again after such a procedure.
Back in May, Lewis was topping out at 87 mph while sitting at 85-86 mph during rehab starts with Frisco.
"I definitely need more reps," Lewis said. "I definitely need to get my arm strength up. Throwing 85 or 86 isn't going to cut it."
The 2013 season was frustrating for the 34-year-old veteran, but hope is on the horizon.
Career: Lewis’ career numbers of 44-44, 4.76 ERA, 96 ERA+ and 5.6 rWAR during eight seasons don’t tell his story. Colby etched his name in Texas Rangers lore when he was the anti-C.J. Wilson in the 2010-11 postseasons. Lewis becomes another pitcher in October: 4-1, 2.34 ERA, 50 IP, 44 Ks and 1.08 WHIP. In three World Series’ starts, he is 1-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 19.2 IP.
In the 2010 postseason, when Clifton Phifer Lee was stealing all the headlines for his performance, Lewis pitched better over the course of the three series.
It is these moments that will have fans clamoring for Lewis to be in the Rangers Hall of Fame when his career is done.
Colby profiles as a strikeout pitcher despite a four-seam fastball that hasn’t averaged 90 mph since 2010. He has a propensity for giving up homeruns (1.4 per nine innings in 2012), but has excellent command of his pitches (6.64 K/BB ratio). Lewis primarily throws his four-seam and two-seam fastballs (60% usage combined) while mixing in a slider (21%). He rarely throws the curve and change as they are both only thrown 9% of the time.
2014 season: When the Rangers signed Lewis to a minor league back in November, I thought it was more of a publicity stunt than something that could benefit the 2014 club.
While he might not be on the 25-man roster March 31, Lewis looks to have a shot to join the club soon after. If he does, he be only the second professional athlete in one of the four major sports to come back from hip resurfacing surgery (the other being Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanski January 3, 2014).
As you can imagine, it must be hard to predict Lewis’ 2014 season but ZIPS has him at 5-4, 4.85 ERA, 78 IP, 89 ERA+ and worth 0.6 wins.
While those numbers don’t look impressive, they would be no small feat for somebody that has worked as hard as Lewis has to get back in the game. Much like Michael Young was for young hitters, Lewis’ true value is his ability to mentor young pitchers on the staff.
“I feel like I’m where I wanted to be,” said Lewis, who last pitched in a regular-season game on July 18, 2012. “I wanted to put myself in a position to win a spot in the rotation right out of spring training. As long as I can continue to stay healthy, that’s where I want to be.”
Everyone associated with the Texas Rangers franchise is pulling for him.
Eddie Middlebrook also writes for Paranoid Fan as a MLB and College Football contributor. He can be on Twitter @emiddlebrook.