Otters sign lefty Justin Lewis
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Evansville Otters have signed left-handed pitcher Justin Lewis to a contract for 2021.
Otters bench coach Boots Day discovered Lewis last winter while managing the Manitoba North Stars in the California Winter League.
Lewis recorded a 3.90 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 14.1 innings and five starts.
During the 2020 CWL season, Day said Lewis was the talk of the CWL, as multiple scouts from several teams and leagues were there to watch his outings.
“I’m excited to get the opportunity to play for the Otters in 2021,” Lewis said. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about this organization, and I’m really looking forward to getting out there, competing, and helping the team win games after the 2020 season was canceled.”
The Burbank, Calif. native was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft and spent two seasons with the organization.
Lewis pitched for the Arizona League Dodgers and the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League between 2017 and 2018. Overall, Lewis was 2-1 with a 6.08 ERA in 31 appearances, recording 54 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched.
He won a Pioneer League championship in 2017 with the Ogden Raptors.
“I’ve had to get a little creative this year to stay sharp, doing a lot of at-home workouts, and I’ve been throwing bullpens at a local field twice a week to simulate a regular season workload,” Lewis said. “As the year has gone on, I’ve been able to get back to my normal strength and conditioning program.”
Day also said Lewis has a power arm, hitting 93-95 in velocity, to go along with a decent change-up and a breaking pitch that “can be unhittable and a wipeout pitch” in Day’s words.
Day believes working with Otters pitching coach Max Peterson, who is also a lefty, will help Lewis improve to be more consistent and go to that next level on the mound.
“2020 has been an extremely tough year, as the pandemic happened at the worst possible time for the independent and minor league baseball,” Lewis said. “The timing made it difficult to make the adjustments and precautions to have a 2020 season.”
“One good thing to come out of all of this was MLB naming the Frontier League as a partner league, and I’m excited to see what comes out of that.”
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.