by Will Overton
An extremely hot month of April put Jed Lowrie on the fantasy map in 2011 and he rode that hot start to stay there all season, though it wasn’t necessarily a deserved spot on the radar. Lowrie did hit .368 in the first month of the season and showed off some power with 3 HR’s and both 13 runs and 13 RBI. This was unfortunately far an away the highlight of the season for Lowrie as injuries and poor performance cut into Lowrie’s playing time and the final numbers ended up looking like this:
6 Home Runs
36 Runs Batted In
1 Stolen Base
.289 Batting Average on Balls In Play
Those aren’t the numbers of a guy who warrants a spot on standard league rosters, but he was owned in multiple leagues still. Part of it is that Lowrie has been a touted prospect for some time and part of it really is that he was a member of the Red Sox who was seeing at least somewhat regular playing time. Let’s take a look at whether he should be drafted this year, all biases aside.
Lowrie is not without talent, there’s a reason he was a totued prospect. Lowrie was only in the major leagues for 55 games in 2010, but he still managed to hit 9 HR’s and score 31 times with a .287 batting average. Lowrie has the potential to hit double digit home runs and in the Red Sox lineup he can put up some runs scored and RBI. The problem isn’t potential, it’s inconsistency and some glaring holes in the game for Lowrie.
The splits don’t look favorably on Lowrie. While htting an impressive .330 against lefty pitchers last season, Lowrie could only muster up a very pedestrian .210 average against righties. Lowrie is a switch hitter, but he just hasn’t learned how to be effective from the left side of the plate against the righty pitchers. Despite twice as mant at-bats from the left side, Lowrie had just 2 HR’s.
Lowrie also had a very big difference between home/road numbers. At home Lowrie hit .292 and on the road just .213. This is one I am a little more willing to dismiss because it hasn’t been a consistent pattern like the struggles against right handers has been. It’s still worth noting though.
The biggest detriment to Lowrie’s value right now might be the fact that he is not guaranteed playing time. Last year it looked like Lowrie had wrestled the shortstop job away from Marco Scutaro early in the season. That didn’t last though and Scutaro was one of the few guys on the team to put up a strong second half, finishing with a .299 average and almost certainly locking up the starting shortstop job once again. That leaves Lowrie’s hope for playing time to third base. And that job will have to be won over Mike Aviles, assuming the Red Sox don’t sign a third baseman which we all know is possible. Aviles came over Kansas City after struggling there, but once he got to Boston he put up a .317 average. Aviles has the similar power to Lowrie and more speed, as well as being a .288 career hitter.
I like Jed Lowrie as a baseball player and he is a solid infielder, but as far as fantasy leagues go he just isn’t worth reaching for. He does have more potential than he has shown, but with the questions about playing time and the high chances that he ends up in a split where he only faces lefties, you shouldn’t be thinking about drafting him, regardless of the team he plays for.
What are your thoughts on Lowrie? Are you believing that the breakout is coming or are we dealing with a perennially overrated player?
Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2012 rankings: