"Fred Lewis? The guy's a human highlight film!" --Dr. Jonathan C. Parsons, 2007
Continuing our series on the New Young Bucks, Mr. Fred Lewis has found himself in the middle of all things good and bad about the 2008 Giants. Our Little Engine That Could has been chugging along with an impressive .337/.419/.533 line over 29 games. The 300-400-500 (avg-oba-slg) plateau is the Holy Grail for a hitter. I think it is safe to say Fred is not going to slug .500 for a season, but I think he has shown a consistent ability to get on base. He has a patient, cerebral approach at the plate that will pay off in the long run, as long as the brass doesn't push him to "be more aggressive." Right now he leads the team in walks--a good thing for a leadoff hitter. I think his stroke will improve and I expect to see him develop into a solid all-field line drive hitter. The knock on Lewis is his age--he's played almost 600 games in the minors, and got tagged as an AAAA type. If you look at the stats, his strikeouts and lack of power have been his Achilles heel, but you can't complain about the .377 OBA. As we have seen, Fred has a raw, unpolished look on the bases, despite his speed. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the outfield alongside some real boners. I like to think those are just rookie lapses, and that his mental game in the field and on the basepaths will improve as well.
Fred is a former Southern University Jaguar. This Baton Rouge Historically Black University also produced the Brewers Rickie Weeks. The most famous Jaguar in MLB history is a fellow who was known for defensive and baserunning excellence, as well as a lot of strikeouts but little power from the leadoff spot. I'm talking about Hall of Famer Louis Clark Brock. I don't expect Fred to get 3,000 hits or 900 SBs, but I think he can be a solid player. If we can get some power hitters in the lineup, he could be a real asset at the top.