- Full name Rommie Lee Lewis
- Born 09/02/1982 in Seattle, WA
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Newport
- Debut 04/28/2010
- Drafted in the 4th round (113th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Among the many changes made by the Orioles' new player-development staff was moving Lewis from reliever to starter. Though his numbers weren't outstanding, they were pleased with the results. He went to the bullpen in August to save wear and tear on his arm. Lewis' feel for pitching stands out more than his stuff, making it that much stranger that he was pitching in relief. His fastball went from 93 mph out of the bullpen to 90-91 in the rotation last year, but that's still good velocity for a lefty. He spots his fastball well, and he can add and subtract velocity from it. His curveball and changeup were much improved. Lewis' savvy actually gets him in trouble sometimes, as he racks up high pitch counts playing cat-and-mouse games with batters. The Orioles want him to be more aggressive early in the count. He also needs to get in better shape to handle the workload of starting. With a season of starting under his belt and another year of physical maturity, Lewis should be able to handle more innings and produce better results in 2004. Even if he returns to high Class A to open the season, he'll spend most of it in Double-A.
Lewis was an easy choice as the low Class A South Atlantic League's all-star closer in his first full season. The bigger question was why he was in the bullpen at all when he owns one of the organization's top arms. The Orioles put Lewis in the bullpen after he was drafted in 2001 to ease his acclimation to pro ball. He performed well in the role and they made him the closer at Delmarva, where he overpowered hitters with a 93 mph fastball that has improved since he signed. He has great command for his experience level and already can locate the ball where he wants in the strike zone. Lewis has a decent curveball and changeup, but he didn't get to use them enough working in relief so they still need improvement. With his frame and stuff, some in the organization feel strongly that he should be a starter. It's not clear at this point where Lewis will pitch in 2003 or in what role. He'll be at one of the Orioles' Class A affiliates, and whether he moves to the rotation could be determined by the offseason changes that take place in the front office.
Minor League Top Prospects
Though Lewis has one of the best arms in the Orioles system, they inexplicably left him in the bullpen for all of 2002. He made the transition to the rotation this year and struggled, especially with his command. He had difficulty keeping his mechanics in sync from inning to inning. Lewis still has a 93 mph fastball, good velocity for a lefthander. And his 6-foot-6 frame is still ideal from a scout's perspective. But his curveball and changeup, which he didn't use as much in relief, still need improvement. He needs something to combat righthanders, who hit .266 with a .398 slugging percentage against him (compared to .196/.268 by lefties).
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Reliever in the South Atlantic League in 2002