- Full name Jensen Daniel Lewis
- Born 05/16/1984 in Cincinnati, OH
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 240 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Vanderbilt
- Debut 07/16/2007
Drafted in the 3rd round (102nd overall) by the Cleveland Guardians in 2005 (signed for $375,000).
View Draft ReportLewis supplanted Ryan Mullins as Vanderbilt's top pitcher, and has the athletic ability and stuff to be either a third or fourth starter or quality relief pitcher. He's filled many roles at Vanderbilt, where he was virtually a one-man bullpen in 2003 and then a late-season replacement at closer as a sophomore. Lewis proved he could handle the pressure of being the No. 1 starter, taking over when Mullins was suspended and never giving up the role. He doesn't have a plus pitch, but he has a cerebral approach and excellent command of his fastball, changeup and slider. He throws in the 88-91 mph range, touching a 92 but getting more movement and better location in the 87-89 range. He has the savvy to add and subtract from the pitch, and his loose arm and pitcher's frame leads scouts to believe he has more velocity to come. Lewis' best secondary pitch is his changeup; it has decent sink and looks like his fastball coming out of his hand. If he improves his servicable slider, a fringy pitch by pro standards, Lewis' competitiveness and developing frame should allow him to remain a starter as a pro.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Indians drafted Lewis twice, in the 33rd round out of high school and again in the third round out of Vanderbilt, where he was a teammate of Jeremy Sowers. Prior to 2007, Lewis was as well known in the organization for his Bob Uecker impressions and his lack of a third pitch as anything. But he broke through in his new role as a setup man in 2007, making seven appearances for Cleveland in the playoffs. As a reliever, Lewis attacks hitters with a 91-93 mph sinker that he spots well. He does a good job of varying speeds, and his changeup ranks among the best in the system. It helped him limit big league lefthanders to a .244 average with no extra-base hits in 44 at-bats. He scrapped his slider in 2006 in favor of a softer, deeper curveball that's much more effective. His mechanics create some deception on the front side and are easily repeatable. Lewis can still rush with his lower half in his delivery at times. When that happens he gets under his pitches, flattening them out and leaving them high in the strike zone. Moving to the bullpen proved to be the best thing for Lewis. The Indians are counting on him to once again be an integral part of their relief corps in 2008.
Lewis was drafted twice by the Tribe, first in the 33rd round out of high school in 2002 and then in the third round after he spent three years at Vanderbilt. He saw his fastball spike slightly into the low 90s in his pro debut that sat comfortably at his previous 88-91 mph last season. He does a good job of changing speeds with his fastball and of locating it all over the strike zone. Lewis' changeup is among the best in the organization, with good depth and fade, and he throws it with the same easy arm action as his fastball. He struggled with the command of his slider early in 2006 and wound up scrapping it altogether. He replaced it with a looping curveball, which gives him another look and helps him expand the zone vertically. Though he's mechanically sound, Lewis tends to rush his delivery. When he does, his arm drags and he loses leverage, leaving pitches up in the zone. Used as a starter over his first two seasons, Lewis is expected to move to the bullpen in Double-A this year.
The Tribe first drafted Lewis out of high school in the 33rd round in 2002, but the righthander opted for Vanderbilt, where he emerged as a third-rounder three years later. After signing for $375,000, he saw his fastball velocity improve during his pro debut. Despite pitching 152 innings between the spring and summer, he still was strong at the end, throwing in the low 90s more consistently than ever while at Mahoning Valley. Whether the quicker fastball is a better fastball is debatable, because he tends to get better life when he works in the high 80s. Much like former Commodores teammate Jeremy Sowers, Lewis is an extremely savvy pitcher. He can add and subtract velocity from his fastball, and he commands it with precision. His best secondary pitch is his changeup, with good sink and the same easy arm action as his fastball. His slider still needs work. It's short and has late bite, but not enough depth. He does a very good job of throwing strikes and locating his pitches, but he must remember not to rush his delivery, which causes him to leave the ball up in the zone. He's athletic and profiles as a third or fourth starter. One Indians official called him the quiet Sowers' nemesis because Lewis has a gregarious personality--his dream job outside of baseball is cooking alongside Emeril Lagasse or being a big league play-by-play announcer. He's ticketed for low Class A to begin 2006, and he has the polish to advance quickly.
Minor League Top Prospects
Lewis has a solid repertoire of pitches, but his savvy and command are what make him a pitcher to watch. He thrived in a number of roles at Vanderbilt and as a starter in his pro debut. "He has great tempo, is aggressive early in the count and throws it at the knees," Langbehn said. "He is typical of how Cleveland has developed their pitchers at the lower levels over the years, eliminating walks and forcing contact." Lewis threw in the low 90s more regularly than he did in college, but he's more effective pitching in the high 80s and getting more sink on his fastball. He also mixes in a slider and changeup. His intensity sometimes gets the better of him as he'll rush his delivery, causing his pitches to stay up in the zone.