On September 3rd the Detroit Tigers promoted right-handed pitcher Artie Lewicki to the major league roster. He started against the Kansas City Royals on September 4th, giving up 11 hits and five runs in five innings, then came in for a bullpen outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on the 10th, throwing two scoreless innings. Lewicki should be in the pitching mix for 2018 so let’s take a look at what he offers.
A University of Virginia product, Lewicki was reasonably successful for the Cavaliers in 2012 and 2014 as both a starter and reliever but missed almost all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. Drafted in the eighth round in 2014, he has worked primarily as a starter in the Tigers system.
He spent portions of both 2015 and 2016 on the disabled list with arm woes. Lewicki ranked 20th on the pre-season Detroit Tigers Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with this comment:
20) Artie Lewicki, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, eighth round pick in 2014 from University of Virginia; posted 3.44 ERA with 77/19 K/BB in 89 innings between High-A and Double-A, 88 hits; low-90s fastball that can hit 95 at times, mixes in breaking ball and change-up, usually throws strikes, gets lots of grounders; four/five starter profile though history of durability concerns may make him better fit in pen, where his stuff would play up in short doses. ETA 2018.
Lewicki stayed healthy all of 2017 and had his best professional season so far, posting a 3.38 ERA in 141 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 123/31 K/BB.
Listed at 6-3, 195, Lewicki is 25 years old, born April 8th, 1992. He has a four-pitch arsenal with a fastball (90-95 MPH), curve, slider, and change-up; he’s usually not overpowering but can hit every velocity spot between 75 and 95 MPH with his various pitches. Instincts and mound presence are also positives.
Lewicki profiles as a fourth starter in terms of stuff. He does have a history of injuries including the Tommy John surgery and more than one “dead arm” period, so his durability in a starting role is unclear. I speculated pre-season that he may fit better in relief; we’ll have to see if the Tigers agree.