So I kinda ignored the interest that Texas was reported to have with Colby Lewis as, well, we have plenty rotation candidates who I'm perfectly happy with. But I just took a look at one of his starts using the nice pitch f/x tool at Patrick Newman's NPBTracker site and was pleasantly surprised. Colby has a 5 pitch mix with plus command: 4S- sits 92.5 (90-94+95); 2S(shuuto) - sits 91 (90-93+94); slider - 85-87.5; curveball - 80-82; change - 86.
He throws harder than I thought he would and has added a 2-seamer so he might indeed be worth a look. The only thing that gives me pause, is that he hardly ever throws his changeup or curve, so, at least in his NPB incarnation, he is a 4s/2s/sl guy. Not sure how that will translate stateside his second time around, but at least he is still throwing hard.
PNew, NPB Tracker -
Pitch f/x Colby Lewis
There are some interesting comments there as well speculating about how (or even if) one might translate stats from the NPB to MLB - the consensus seems to be that it is very hit and miss. The difference in approach taken by NPB hitters compared to MLB hitters seems to be a big part of the difficulty.
"Lewis was a top prospect in the Texas system until he blew out his shoulder in 2004 after a year and a half of unsuccessful work in the majors, but when he went to Japan in 2008 he remade himself as an extreme control artist, walking just 42 men in 354 innings over two years in NPB while striking out 369, leading his league in strikeouts in 2009. He's mostly fastball/slider with average velocity, and he'll mix in the occasional two-seamer and curveball. Patrick over at NPB Tracker writes that Lewis is hoping to return to MLB this offseason due to family reasons, and given his success in NPB and average fastball, I think he's worth a look for any team in search of a fifth starter."