The 2022 season hasn’t been a successful season for the Texas Rangers. The addition of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien didn’t make the Sliver a playoff contender despite avoiding a 100-game season. The two free-agent big fish snapped up before the closure of the stadium last year also didn’t perform as well as expected because of the switch to Globe Life Stadium, which is relatively unfavorable to hitters. But in this gloomy fog, the Rangers also witnessed the arrival of a main Mesozoic cannon. And the player who has given fans solace this season is Nathaniel Lowe.
The 27-year-old Lowe, who was born in Georgia, was favored 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. Relative to his acclaimed younger brother at the time, Nathaniel was considered a lucky rookie because of his defensive position (first base) and age (Mississippi State junior).
But since joining professional baseball, despite the high strikeout rate, Nathaniel Lowe has delivered above-average or even excellent batting results at all levels. Lowe also rose to the majors in 2019 and immediately showed off his excellent long-hitting firepower. However, with the Rays MLB team already at first base with the likes of Cui Zhiwan and Yandy Diaz, Lowe is an additional third. So they reached a trade agreement with the Texas Rangers, including Lowe in the trade package, in exchange for three rookies including rookie strong player Heriberto Hernandez.
Considering that first base has been run by the ephemeral Danny Santana and glove-no-bat Ronald Guzman for the past two years, the Rangers are really willing to give Lowe, and he’s rewarded with good results. In 642 berths (157 games) combined .264 batting average, .357 on-base percentage, .415 slugging percentage, 18 homers and 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 trough 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 heating up with the temperature in Texas. Among them, Lowe from August to today (September 21, Taiwan time), contributed .378 batting average, .446 hitting percentage and .610 slugging percentage, plus 10 home runs and an astonishing 203 wRC+. Only one batter had a wRC+ higher than Lowe during that period, and that was Aaron Judge, who is expected to challenge Roger Maris’ 61-homer record this year. In 582 batting games this year, Lowe’s batting measurements were .308, .363 and .504, hitting 25 home runs and scoring 147 wRC+. 147 wRC+ is currently ranked ninth in the major leagues among batters this year, tied with Shohei Otani, a Japanese second-sword player of the Los Angeles Angels, and the first baseman of the American League.
Lowe was able to have such a good result, in part, thanks to the excellent hitting performance. The ratio of level and fly balls is higher than that of ground balls, but this year, the batting average has remained close to 80%, and the xwOBACON (batting 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 explosiveness and hitting performance are actually all-round. In a nutshell, Lowe has shown a decent long-play threat this year, whether pulling or pushing, making him a terrifying all-around gunner.
Of course, if we look at the BABIP (batting batting average), Lowe’s .366 BABIP can really make us question whether there is any element of luck in his performance. What’s more, Lowe’s overall skills cannot be compared with Judge and Otani and others. , after all, his defense at first base can be described as unbearable, which is a euphemism, but just talking about hitting, Lowe did deliver the league’s top firepower in the second half of the season, and even with the so-called measurement and On a more advanced level, Lowe is still one of the most amazing players of the year.
All in all, 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 base player to be reckoned with, and in recent years, the overall first baseman in the major leagues has become a strong player. In an environment of declining depth and capacity, Lowe, a late bloomer, stands out. And whether the Rangers are going to make Lowe the centerpiece of the attack for the next five years or pursue a deal at a high price, it basically works. Undoubtedly, the first-base hitter, who was regarded as a lucky bag in the past, not only contributed to the team, but also played his own day in the competitive major leagues.
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