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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 72: Zach Lewis

A season and a half with nothing but success out of the pen or in the rotation — the future couldn’t be brighter for this native Chicagoan righthander

Fast impact: No matter the role, Lewis has excelled as a pro.
Tiffany Wintz (@TiffW96)/South Side Sox

Zach Lewis
205 pounds
Throws: Right
Age: 23
SSS rank among all right-handed starters in the system: 15

Lewis, a native of Palos Heights and student of St. Laurence H.S. in Burbank, spent his first two years as a reliever for Wabash Valley Community College, where he followed up a sensational freshman season (1.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 2.76 BB/9, 5.11 H/9, 9.51 K/9, and drafted but unsigned by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round) with a disappointing sophomore one (6.23 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 4.41 BB/9, 11.16 H/9 and 7.91 K/9).

Lewis transferred to NCAA powerhouse Wichita State but ultimately struggled in his junior season, splitting his time in starting and bullpen roles for the Shockers (5.96 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.28 BB/9, 9.24 H/9, 8.03 K/9 — almost an exact split of the results between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wabash). Finally, in his collegiate swan song (primarily as a starter), Lewis enjoyed a 3.07 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.51 BB/9, 6.59 H/9, and 7.02 K/9. However, due to his inconsistencies and relative inexperience as a starter, he went undrafted in 2017 and signed a minor league free agent deal with the White Sox.

Lewis joined southpaw John Parke to form a terrific 1-2 punch at the top of the AZL White Sox rotation in 2017. In 12 games (eight starts), Lewis compiled a 2.72 ERA and 1.11 WHIP by allowing just 46 hits (.241 OBA) and 13 walks (6.1%), with 45 strikeouts (21.0 K%) over 53 innings.

He began at Kannapolis in 2018 as a reliever behind a stacked rotation that included Kade McClure, Blake Battenfield, Lincoln Henzman, Parke and Parker Rigler. However, due to a combination of promotions and injuries, Lewis was reinstated to a starting role, where he excelled. For the Intimidators, Lewis compiled a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 103 2⁄3 innings (29 games, 16 starts) while allowing just 69 hits (.189 OBA) and 48 walks (11.2%) and striking out 103 (24.1%). Thus, it appears Lewis was effectively wild, as he walked more hitters but allowed far fewer hits, while considerably improving his strikeout percentages. Taking a closer look, Lewis was especially dominant in his final 10 starts, posting a 1.93 ERA and 0.98 WHIP and allowing just 36 hits and 19 walks, with 64 strikeouts over a total of 56 innings. What’s especially notable is that Lewis’ control improved considerably as the season progressed.

Lewis should begin 2019 with Winston-Salem, with a chance for a promotion to Birmingham around the All-Star break if all goes well. At 23, Lewis was about a year older than league average in Kannapolis, so if he makes it to Birmingham by the end of the 2019, he should be around league-average age for the Barons.

Take a look!

Bottom video courtesy of our friends at 2080 Baseball.

2019 South Side Sox Top 100 Prospects

72. Zach Lewis, RHSP
73. José Nin, RHRP
74. Colton Turner, LHSP
75. Jhoandro Alfonso, C
76. Ramon Beltre, 2B
77. Charlie Tilson, CF
78. Hunter Kiel, RHRP
79. Jason Bilous, RHSP
80. Nick Johnson, RHRP
81. Danny Dopico, RHRP
82. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
83. Logan Sowers, RF
84. Maiker Feliz, 3B
85. Brayan Herrera, RHSP
86. Craig Dedelow, LF
87. Wilber Pérez, RHSP
88. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
89. Johan Dominguez, RHRP
90. Mitch Roman, 2B
91. Ty Greene, C
92. Tanner Banks, LHSP
93. Jake Elliott, RHRP
94. Kevin Escorcia, LHRP
95. Luis Rodriguez, RHSP
96. Ian Dawkins, LF
97. Victor Diaz, RHRP
98. Travis Moniot, LF
99. Will Kincanon, RHRP
100. Brian Clark, LHRP

More information on South Side Top Prospects.