In August, Indiana Wesleyan University former starting pitcher Sam Lewis signed an undrafted free agent contract with MLB’s Kansas City Royals. Lewis spent the past three years on the mound for the Wildcats, and is now getting a chance to take his game to the next level.
Lewis has worked hard to develop his game in the past few years, according to Chad Newhard, head coach of IWU’s baseball team.
“He improved his physical tools mainly, developing his body and getting stronger. He went from hitting 84-87 miles per hour on the radar gun to about 93 last season,” said Newhard.
Peter Engle (sr), first baseman, played with Lewis for three years and saw Lewis’ progression first hand.
“Sam is driven,” Engle said. “He knew that he could reach the next level if he applied himself. The last two years he has applied himself more, and now he is reaping the benefits of that.”
According to the athletic department, Lewis is now the latest in a quartet of IWU pitchers to sign a major league contract since 2008. He is joined by Brandon Moore, Josh Worrell and Brandon Beachy.
“[Having players signed professionally] has a very big impact on our program,” said Newhard. “Because of this recent success, we are able to recruit a much higher level of talent, especially on the mound. People look at Brandon Beachy’s success in the majors and see that Indiana Wesleyan knows how to develop talent.”
Lewis has also used Beachy as a blueprint for success. Engle said before their sophomore year, Lewis received a workout book from Beachy.
“It seemed like he was always carrying that around in the weight room,” said Engle.
Whether or not Lewis will succeed in the professional ranks is yet to be seen, but Engle definitely thinks he has the potential.
“My hope is that Sam becomes very mentally tough, because other guys are going to be able to throw harder and have better stuff than him, but if he is mentally stronger than them, then that can definitely set him apart,” Engle said. “Also, I would love to see him stand out in his faith, and bring a different kind of culture to the major league locker room. I think that would be really cool and a testament to our program.”
Lewis will start his professional career with the Royals’ rookie league affiliate, the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League, according to the athletic department.