2. Tampa Bay Rays Debut 2019 – Nate Lowe
The big slugger was coming off of a spectacular 2018 in the minor leagues, in which he blasted 27 homers (20 more than the previous season) and 102 RBI between three different levels. At the age of 22, Nate Lowe started the season A-Charlotte and ended the season in AAA-Durham.
Prior to 2019, Lowe had broken through Baseball America’s Top100 Prospects list.
Lowe earned a call-up at the end of April and made a brief run with the team. He was called up again when All-Star rookie Brandon Lowe was sidelined with an injury. Nate blasted five homers in his first seven games after the callup.
He found himself back with the big-league club in September, during the chase for the postseason. Who can forget the Sep 21 walk-off homer against the Boston Red Sox in the 11th inning? The two-run shot gave the Rays a one-game lead for the second wild-card position as the season came down to the final week of play.
If you don’t want to re-watch the entire condensed game below, skip to about 6:30 into the video. Travis d’Arnaud lined a laser to the wall in left-center past a diving Jackie Bradley Jr. (Kevin Kiermaier probably would have had that one) for a double.
Nate Lowe steps in and blasts an opposite-field drive down the left-field line. It was all man, it wasn’t an overswing, he was just trying to make solid contact…which is all you need when you are Nate Lowe.
Lowe finished the season with seven homers in 152 at-bats while driving in 19 runs. His final slash line sat at .263/.325/.454. His 0.4 rWAR was still good enough for the second-best debut season for the Rays in 2019.
He spent 93 games in Triple-A last season, blasting another 16 homers and 63 RBI. Thus far in his Triple-A career, he is slashing .282/.401/.497 with 30 2B, 20 HR, 79 RBI, and 80 walks in just 121 games. It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot more he can do in the minors. I hope he gets an opportunity to shine for the big-league club soon.