The cautionary tale of Mark Lewis

Through nine career games Carlos Santana is batting .393 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and a .514 OBP. On Sunday he went 3-4 with a HR, collecting his 4th career multi-hit game.

It’s an impressive start, to be sure, but he isn’t the first Tribe rookie to jump out to a hot start. Over the last 25 seasons, he’s the 8th Tribe rookie with at least four multi-hit games through his first nine career games. It’s an odd collection of names, and hopefully the top name on the list give us reason to temper our enthusiasm about Santana.

Here’s a quick history lesson on Mark Lewis, who was our early 90s version of Carlos Santana…

In late April 1991 the Tribe called up Lewis – Baseball America’s 9th-rated prospect entering the season. The former 2nd-overall pick filled in for Felix Fermin and got off to a torrid start, with five multi-hit performances in his first eight career games. By the end of May he was batting .363 and had shifted over to 2nd base, replacing veteran Jerry Browne.

Lewis looked like a future star, but unfortunately that first month was the highlight of his career. As the everyday shortstop in 1992 he hit just .264 and relinquished the job back to Fermin in 1993. After spending the majority of the ’93 season batting .284 in Tripe-A Charlotte, the Tribe essentially gave up on Lewis when they traded Fermin and Reggie Jefferson for Omar Vizquel. Lewis would start the 1994 season in a platoon with Jim Thome at third base, but was sent back down to Charlotte in May after batting .217 through the first two months of the season.

Lewis was traded to the Reds for Tim Costo in December 1994.

So while it’s fun to watch Carlos Santana and imagine him as the next Victor Martinez or Sandy Alomar Jr. Remember, at one time Mark Lewis was the future of our franchise as well.