Coming into the 2022 season, the Tampa Bay Rays placed a ton of confidence in their #2 prospect Josh Lowe, having him make the Opening Day Roster and even trading away proven outfielder Austin Meadows to create space for him.
Unfortunately, Lowe got off to a cold start, slashing just .188/.257/.344 with a team high 27 strikeouts in just 71 plate appearances. Lowe showed his ability to get extra base hits (3 doubles, 2 triples, and 1 home run), but was clearly unable to get on base at the level that the Rays were hoping for.
On May 1st, the Rays made the decision to demote Lowe back to AAA Durham. Although some may see this as a warning sign, GM Peter Bendix felt that this could propel Lowe into a strong 2022 season.
"“We’re trying to make the best decision for the next couple of weeks. I think Josh will go down there, he’ll play every day, he’ll get back to being the player that we know he is and that he’s going to be a really big part of what we’re doing the rest of the season.”"- GM Peter Bendix via Tampa Bay Times
Lowe has shown signs of life since his demotion, posting an OPS of .855 and has especially heated up over his last three games, as MLB Pipeline pointed out in their tweet.
If Lowe can keep up this production, it will only be a matter of days or weeks before Rays fans will see Lowe back on the big league club. His plus power and defense would be a welcome addition to the ballclub, but Tampa Bay knows as well as any organization that patience is key with young talent. Lowe posted an OPS of .937 in 2021 at AAA, so it would be foolish to panic after a slow start to 2022.
It is encouraging to see a front office treat the future of such a key prospect with so much care. They showed belief in Lowe when they named him to the Opening Day roster, and they showed patience in allowing Lowe to develop some more at the AAA level at such a critical time in his career. If recent production shows anything, Lowe is getting back on track.