Tampa Bay Rays Prospect Watch: Brandon Lowe
By David Hill
Brandon Lowe may not have received much attention heading into this season from prospect hounds. The Tampa Bay Rays minor league second baseman is looking to change that.
One could understand if Brandon Lowe was overlooked heading into this season. Last year, the Tampa Bay Rays minor league second baseman had a relatively underwhelming .247/.355/.343 batting line, hitting 15 doubles and five homers. The former third round pick in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft looked as though he would be quite some time away from becoming an impact player, if it was to happen.
This season, however, Lowe has been impressive. Promoted to the Charlotte Stone Crabs to start the year, Lowe has produced a stellar .333/.433/.558 batting line, with his .991 OPS leading the Rays minor leagues. He has already surpassed his doubles output from last year, having hit 16 doubles in just 138 at bats. He has also equaled his total number of triples (3) and is two homers shy of his power output from the entirety of 2016.
Lowe has also displayed an improved batting eye. While his strike zone awareness was considered a strength as he came out of college, those marks are even better this year. In his 164 plate appearances, Lowe has 25 walks and just 24 strikeouts, cutting an already impressive strikeout rate down to 14.6%.
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This season is playing right into his scouting report. Lowe had been considered a bat first prospect, one who was expected to hit for a high average and show solid on base ability. His power was always a work in progress, but Lowe is driving the ball far more this season than he had in years past. Perhaps his torn ACL, suffered as a freshman at the University of Maryland, is finally healthy once more.
Lowe has also settled in well at second. While his arm was expected to be strong enough to man the position, he has displayed significantly improved range at the position as well this year. Lowe looks a lot more agile on the field, in essentially every aspect of the game.
Next: Reinforcements getting closer
Brandon Lowe may not have garnered much attention this offseason, but he certainly is now. The Tampa Bay Rays prospect could well climb the organizational rankings by the end of this season.