MLB” hits as low as Otani How amazing is Nathaniel Lowe’s surge this summer?

Nathaniel Lowe’s Texas Rangers. (Photo by Emil Lippe/Getty Images)

The 2022 season has not been a successful season for the Texas Rangers. The addition of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien did not make the Sliver a playoff contender despite avoiding a 100 game season. The two free agent bigs before the stadium closed last year did not perform as well as expected due to the switch to Globe Life Stadium, which is relatively unfavorable for hitters. But in this dark fog, the Rangers also saw the arrival of the main Mesozoic cannon. And the player who has given comfort to the fans this season is Nathaniel Lowe.

The 27-year-old Georgia native Lowe was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. He joined the Rays system with his younger brother and high school star Josh Lowe, who was selected in the first round. . Compared to his then acclaimed younger brother, Nathaniel was considered a lucky rookie due to his defensive position (first base) and his age (Mississippi State junior).

But since joining professional baseball, despite the high strikeout rate, Nathaniel Lowe has achieved above average or even outstanding batting results at every level. Lowe also rose to the majors in 2019 and immediately showed his long-lasting firepower. However, with the Rays MLB team already at first base with the likes of Cui Zhiwan and Yandy Diaz, Lowe is an extra third. So they reached a trade deal with the Texas Rangers, including Lowe in the trade package, in exchange for three rookies including rookie power hitter Heriberto Hernandez.

Considering that first base has been run by the ephemeral Danny Santana and the no-glove-no-bat Ronald Guzman for the past two years, the Rangers are really willing to give Lowe, and it has been rewarded with good results. In 642 at-bats (157 games) he combined for a .264 batting average, .357 on-base percentage, .415 slugging percentage, 18 homers and a 114 wRC+. In other words, Lowe is hitting about 14 percent above average in his first full season and at home with unfavorable hitters.

And this season, Lowe’s overall batting performance has gone up a notch. While May’s pitcher has made the grades look unsatisfactory (and this is why I threw away Lowe, a 23rd round pick in my fantasy baseball game), Lowe’s bat has also been warming up with the Texas temperatures. Among them, Lowe contributed from August to today (September 21, Taiwan time), a .378 batting average, a .446 hitting percentage and a .610 slugging percentage, along with 10 home runs and an astounding 203 wRC+. Only one batter had a higher wRC+ than Lowe during that span, Aaron Judge, who is expected to challenge Roger Maris’ 61-homer record this year. In 582 games at bat this year, Lowe’s batting numbers were .308, .363 and .504, hitting 25 home runs and posting a 147 wRC+. His 147 wRC+ currently ranks ninth in the major leagues among batters this year, tied with Shohei Otani, the Japanese second baseman of the Los Angeles Angels, and American League first baseman.

Lowe was able to get such a good result, in part, thanks to the excellent hitting performance. The fly ball rate is higher than ground balls, but this year, the batting average has remained close to 80%, and the xwOBACON (expected weighted on-base percentage) of .429. And this xwOBACON happens to be in the top 10% of the league. What’s more commendable is that Lowe’s explosion and hitting performance is actually universal. In short, Lowe has shown a decent long play threat this year, whether he’s pulling or pushing, which makes him a scary gunner all around.

Of course, if we look at the BABIP (batting average), Lowe’s .366 BABIP can make us question whether there is any element of luck in his performance. . . , after all, his defense at first base can be described as insufferable, which is an understatement, but speaking of hitting, Lowe delivered the league’s leading firepower in the second half of the season, and even with r measurement as it is called. and At a higher level, Lowe is still one of the most incredible players of the year.

Overall, Nathaniel Lowe may not be a player that the average fan will notice, but with his explosion in recent months, he has become a strong first baseman to be reckoned with, and in recent years , the all-around first baseman in which the big leagues have become a power player. In an environment of declining depth and capacity, the late-blooming Lowe stands out. And whether the Rangers are going to make Lowe the center of the attack for the next five years or pursue a high-priced deal, it’s basically working. The first base hitter, who was considered a lucky bag in the past, undoubtedly contributed not only to the team, but also played his day in the competitive big leagues.

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