Chatting With Carson Cistulli About Colby Lewis | The Process Report

Chatting With Carson Cistulli About Colby Lewis

You jumped on the Colby Lewis bandwgon immediately, even facing some light mockery from others. Can you explain why you quickly became the moth to Lewis’ flame?

Cistulli: There are three reasons that I embraced Lewis. Actually, there are almost definitely more reasons than that, but whaddo I look like, a frigging psychologist over here?

For one, it was his CHONE projection. Before the season begins, I basically spend everyday just becoming friends with the CHONE and ZiPS projections. I’m like, “Hey, projections. What’re ya doing?” And then there like, “Nu-thin,” all coy and everything. And then I’m like, “Do you mind if I sort you by projected WAR?” And then there all, “May-be.”

Anyway, CHONE had Lewis at a 3.72 FIP and 3.99 ERA. I’d only vaguely known Lewis before this past offseason and, even then, I didn’t realize he was a different person than Jensen Lewis. So, needless to say, the projection was surprising, exciting. I did some research on him, his time in Japan and his command numbers there. He was very clearly someone to champion.

The second reason is fantasy-related. Each year — and I don’t think I’m alone in this, at all — but each year, you know, I identify a couple-few guys who I think I’ll be able to draft later than their “true” fantasy value would otherwise suggest. Again, given Lewis’s relative obscurity — that, combined with his awesome narrative — he was someone to target.

It’s important to note that a player’s fantasy relevance — Lewis’s, anyone’s — it’s not a trifling matter. I play in two fantasy leagues, both of the keeper variety. One is a RotoWire staff league. The other, which I’ve been in for like seven years or something, is full of all these math jerks from Northwestern. They’re competitive leagues, is what I’m saying. Therefore, identifying bargains isn’t easy, and, even more therefore, when one is able to identify a value, it signifies not only a fantasy victory, but an imposition of one’s will over his opponents’ respective wills. Especially those Northwester guys. They’re all jerky math jerks.

Essentially, my aims and Colby Lewis’s aims became united. His success would be my success; his failure, also mine. (Does this sound dramatic? Yes. Am I totally, legitimately serious? Yes, as well.)

The third reason is prospect maven Marc Hulet and his giant, confident Canadian face. During the Opening Day Chat, I made a comment about Lewis and his upside — an opinion that Well-Known Socialist and American-Hating Marc Hulet disparaged. (You can seen all this unfold, by the way, in the replay of said Chat.)

Anyway, we had a bit of competitive banter on the matter and I submitted that Lewis would end the year with a 3.74 ERA and a 167:45 K:BB in 195 IP. Hulet predicted a 5.15 ERA, 6.40 K/9, and 3.80 BB/9 in 155 IP.

I think it’s pretty clear how I vanquished Metric-System-Using and “Serviette”-Saying Marc Hulet in that instance.

Do you intend to continue to serenade Lewis with your esoteric prose next season, or is this a one season fling?

Cistulli: Well, there’s something about “discovering” a player. I mean, Lewis and I will always have the Good Times, but there are new players to champion each season. Dave Cameron has already discussed Luis Rodriguez, who’s probably that sort of player. For me, maybe it’s Robinson Chirinos (although, he plays for the Cubs, and it’s just difficult to like the Cubs.)

Angel Pagan and, especially, Andres Torres were also candidates for this kind of celebration before the season. Except for the fact that they’re field players, I mean. It seems like it’s maybe better to celebrate pitchers: when they play, they play A LOT. For field players, it’s — what? — five plate appearances and three or five chances in the field.

Does Lewis’ story do anything for you, or are you just one of those shallow creeps that judge players off their numbers?

Cistulli: The story is great, for all the reasons everyone already knows. First, Lewis was a prospect; then, he was injured and his career was jeopardized; then, he persisted and succeeded abroad; then, he made a triumphant return. One imagines that Lewis was humbled by his experience. One also sees that, despite facing adversity, Lewis persisted — and this persistence paid off. He’s an ethical model writ large.

Lewis is essentially your biological son, but Jonah Keri is — for all intent and purposes — your brother from a another mother. Only one can benefit by seeing their team win this series. I believe this is what Ken Arneson would call the Paradox of Choice, but if you had your druthers, who would you propel into the ALCS?

Cistulli: Yer mom.

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