Offseason Homework Assignments - Jed Lowrie

Thearon W. Henderson

This week we move to the middle infield and take a look at Jed Lowrie.

Many thought Jed Lowrie didn't have a spot coming into 2013. He turned out to be one of Oakland's best contributors. Let's look at his season and into 2014.

By the numbers.

Offensively, Lowrie was simply ridiculous in 2013. Below are his numbers.

Season

Team

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

BB%

K%

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

BsR

Off

Def

WAR

2013

Athletics

154

662

15

80

75

1

7.60%

13.70%

0.156

0.319

0.29

0.344

0.446

0.345

121

-1.2

14.3

-3.3

3.6

The big thing for Lowrie was simply getting the PA. After struggling with injuries for his career, 2013 was his first season to eclipse 100 games.

Lowrie's .345 wOBA was 2nd (2nd!) in MLB for all shortstops behind only Tulowitzki. Lowrie showed no dramatic splits for LHP/RHP, day/night, home/road. I am telling you, Lowrie was simply awesome last year with the bat in his hands.

Areas for improvement

Defense. Blah blah blah UZR, yeah yeah yeah DRS. Lowrie wasn't good with the glove in 2013. If you have read a single post on AN since the start of the season, I think you know that.

Hitting the opposite way. Over 25% of the balls Lowrie put in play went to the opposite field. For players with over 130 BIP to opposite field, Lowrie's .238 wOBA is 2nd worst. I say just stop trying to hit to the opposite field so much.

Consistency. I am really digging deep to find something, but Lowrie had a couple difficult months in May and July. Maybe a day off here or there would be beneficial.


Mar/Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept/Oct

wOBA

.409

.301

.364

.290

.356

.339

Handle the heat. Digging even deeper, Lowrie struggled against guys with an upper 90's fastball. He posted the 2nd lowest OPS against fastballs 95+ mph. Overall, Lowrie was a solid fastball hitter (3.5 wFB value according to BIS).


P

AVG

OBP

SLUG

OPS

K%

Miss%

2. Jed Lowrie (OAK)

153

.129

.229

.129

.358

31.40%

18.70%

Swing analysis

Lowrie is a God-forsaken switch hitter, so I get to do twice the work. We will start with his LH swing since that is how he takes most of his at-bats. Below is one of his swings.

 photo LowrieSwing_zps511a0e7d.gif

Really nice. Lowrie has an easy five-frame swing, so that is good. He could use both his shoulders just a little more to get a little more power, but that is really being critical. From the front side, we can see his stride is a bit closed, and doesn't work the bat into great launch position, very similar to Chris Young.

 photo TT-Front_zps05914098.jpg

Unlike Chris Young however, Lowrie is able to clear the front side. Although that does put his front leg in somewhat of a precarious position. See how he gets completely onto the side of his front foot and almost hyper-extends his front knee.

 photo LowrieFollowThrough27_zps186bf98b.png

Is it ideal? No. But until he starts struggling, I won't complain. It is something to watch going forward. It is possible the poor launch position hurts him against upper 90's fastballs, but it is hard to say definitively. It certainly doesn't help.

His RH handed swing is very similar. Good solid swing.

 photo LowrieSwingRH_zpsf606fcda.gif

From the front, we can see his stride is a little less closed, and he does launch the bat better. I would say Lowrie has a better RH swing than left, and that corresponds to his career performance.

 photo LowrieLaunch_zpsf55284b7.jpg

Lowrie's follow-through on the RH swing is a little easier on the front knee, so that's nice.

 photo LowrieSwingRHFollowThrough45_zps64f67c71.png

Looking at Lowrie's RH swing, I think he may have a bit unlucky with regards to RH power. His ISO was .110 and he hit only 1 HR from the right side. However, if you look at his outs at the Coliseum, a few to LF (presumably RH swings) looked to be darn near home runs, two are even over the line. I bet next year the ISO creeps up more toward his career RH norm.

 photo HitChart_zps4a2ba55b.png

Overall two very good swings. Some movements are a little muted, but very solid.

Projection

There is a lot of trade talk involving Lowrie, and you can see the idea of a "sell high" move from the A's perspective. To me, that would be crazy. Will Lowrie have another year like 2013 in 2014? Difficult to say. His walk rate was slightly over his career norms, his line-drive rate up, and the .344 BABIP from the left side all seem to say that 2013 may have been a career year. Or maybe a "typical" year if the guy is healthy. Assuming he stays healthy, I am projecting a slightly down year from the left side, and a slightly better year from the right side. So that puts Lowrie at .285/.335/.440 with 15 HR. That's an awful lot of production from a middle infielder for $2.4 million. If I was GM, a team would really have to blow my skirt up with an offer to take Lowrie out of the middle of the order in 2014.

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