Absent from the lineup ahead of Monday's game against the Detroit Tigers, many assumed that star second baseman Brandon Lowe was just getting a routine day off. However, as reported by Neil Solondz, Lowe had actually suffered a stress reaction in his back that would cause him to be placed on the 10-day injured list.
Unfortunately for Tamp Bay, Lowe is expected to miss at least three weeks with this injury. In fact, he may even be out for over a month. Currently hitting .212 on the season with five home runs, he owns an OPS+ of 118. A crucial part of a lineup that is struggling to get going so far in 2022, his absence cannot be overstated.
In his place, however, Rays fans may be getting a taste of the future. While Lowe is locked up until 2026, Vidal Brujan is fully expected to claim an infield spot in the near future. Through seven games in 2022, Brujan is hitting .143 with an OBP of .182. Likely to get the bulk of starts at the keystone with Lowe out, he gets afforded a big opportunity to prove himself for a team that needs someone to step up.
In addition, to Brujan, expect to see Issac Paredes involved as well. Acquired in the trade that sent Austin Meadows to Detroit, Paredes was recalled from Triple-A in a move that corresponded with Lowe going on the IL. Hitting .250 with an OPS of .550, Paredes has not taken a walk all season. If he could become more patient at the plate, he could push Brujan for an everyday role.
Although Wander Franco is a superstar, the argument could be made that Lowe is the best hitter on the Rays currently. After receiving MVP votes the last two seasons, Lowe is still one of the most underrated players in the MLB. While Rays fans may be excited to see the development of Brujan and Franco as a duo, this is a massive loss as the Rays look to catch the Yankees in the A.L. East.