Rising Apple’s Year in Review series takes a turn at evaluating the season that Fred Lewis had for the Amazins in 2012. It’s been an up-and-down career for the soon-to-be 32-year-old outfielder; he made his debut in September 2006 for the Giants and worked his way up to a starting role, where he peaked with his .282/.351/.440 line and 21 stolen bases in 2008. However, he had a much different year by the Bay in 2009, then found himself in Toronto while his former team was winning the World Series in 2010. After catching on with the Reds a couple seasons ago, he found himself in the Mets minor league system, waiting for his opportunity in the Majors again.
How He Handled the Bat
To put it plainly, he played very well for Wally Backman in Triple-A Buffalo, but in limited time with the Mets after earning a September call-up, he didn’t do so great. He played the entire year with the Bisons, appearing in 108 games and accumulating 419 at-bats. Despite striking out a ton (113 K’s), he did have a solid season, hitting .294/.379/.482 with 13 homers, 45 RBI, and 80 runs scored. In addition to his 13 long balls, he also hit 26 doubles and 7 triples. His 11.9% BB rate and .373 BABIP was at it’s highest in a qualifying season since he spent Triple-A in the Giants organization in 2006. He earned himself a September call-up, and had something to prove to the Mets, as this was the longest he’d been in the minors since before he made his Big League debut.
Unfortunately for Lewis, he didn’t show much to the front office in his limited time in Flushing (18 games, 20 ABs). Getting just as many at-bats as games appeared in lends him to being mostly a pinch-hitter, which is tough, but that was the chance he had to show New York he could possibly be an option for them in what ended up being a horrendous outfield situation moving forward. In those 20 ABs, he put together a .150/.320/.150 line, obviously not getting a hit for extra bases, scoring tw0 runs, and racking up five more strikeouts.
How He Handled the Glove
With the Bisons, Lewis saw himself getting time at all three outfield positions, but the majority of his time was spent in left field (86 games), making 5 errors and 3 assists in 159 chances, good for a .969 fielding percentage. However, the next position he spent a lot of time at was right field (19 games); in 43 chances, he didn’t commit an error, while doubling his assist total with 3 more.
Once he was called up to the Bigs again, he also spent time at all three outfield positions, but saw most of his time being spent in right field, where he earned three starts from Terry Collins. He spent 16 of his 28.2 innings in the corner outfield position, only got 4 chances to make a play, but was successful. Since he made his debut in 2006 and I started hearing about him as he become a starter in 2007 and 2008, I had always seen Lewis as a decent fielder, with good speed and the ability to make the routine plays, but by no means an above average defender.
Projected Role in 2013
About a week ago, the Mets out-righted Lewis back to Triple-A, effectively taking him off the 40-man roster. So, if he were to come back to New York for next season, it would be reasonable to assume him filling a spot in the outfield for the Las Vegas 51s in Triple-A once again.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors
However, it doesn’t look like Lewis will not be with the organization next year, as Adam Rubin reported his intentions of filing for free agency once he clears waivers. That will bring him out of his arbitration years, allowing him to go to whichever team wants him. After having a solid year for the Bisons, Lewis and his agents probably feel he could find a team willing to give him a fourth-outfielder job on a Big League club. I wish him the best as he tries to make the most of his professional career.