- Full name Jed Carlson Lowrie
- Born 04/17/1984 in Salem, OR
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Stanford
- Debut 04/15/2008
Drafted in the C-1 round (45th overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2005 (signed for $762,500).
View Draft ReportAfter going undrafted out of an Oregon high school in 2002, Lowrie emerged as a potential first-round pick a year ago when he won the Pacific-10 Conference triple crown with a .399 average and 17 homers, and tied for the lead with 68 RBIs. But he raised a red flag with scouts during the summer when he hit a team-low .230 with only one homer using a wood bat for Team USA. The previous summer in the Alaska League, also using wood, he hit .224. He hasn't performed well this spring, either, as he was hitting .328 with 12 homers--most of which came in a two-week spurt in February. In fairness, Lowrie has been pitched around in a depleted Stanford lineup and has gotten few good pitches to hit, making him impatient. Though he stays balanced throughout his swing and takes a big cut for his size, Lowrie has an unorthodox approach at the plate. He keeps his hands low and has a high leg kick. A switch-hitter, he is a much better hitter from the left side. He is also a solid defender with good footwork and enough arm strength to fill in at shortstop in a pinch. Scouts have compared Lowrie to current big league second basemen Chase Utley and Adam Kennedy, who were both first-round picks from California colleges, but they say Lowrie is a better defender than both.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Following a strong pro debut in 2005, when he was a supplemental first-round pick, Lowrie slumped to .262 with three homers in his high Class A encore. He hit just .170 last April and seemed destined for another down year, but he improved dramatically afterward and wound up being Boston's minor league offensive player of the year. Lowrie is a switch-hitter with a patient approach and pop from both sides of the plate. He started to make adjustments at the end of 2006 and they helped him recover from his season-opening slump last year. He improved even more dramatically on defense, becoming an average shortstop. Lowrie improved his fielding percentage there to .965 from .938 the year before and demonstrated enough speed and range to stay there. His hands and arm weren't in question. While Lowrie can play shortstop and his offensive production makes his glove more tolerable, a contender probably would want a better defender at the position. As with most of their best prospects, the Red Sox would like to see him get stronger. Luckily for Lowrie, his bat will play at second or third base, but there are no infield openings in Boston. That's why his name repeatedly surfaced in offseason trade talks. If he's still with the organization in 2008, he'll go to Triple-A to get regular playing time and be on call to fill any infield need that arises.
Lowrie had the best pro debut among Boston's 2005 draftees and showed a better righthanded swing and shortstop defense than the Red Sox expected. His first full pro season didn't go as well. He was hitting just .227 when a high ankle sprain on May 1 sidelined him for five weeks, and he didn't regain his 2005 form until mid-August. Lowrie pressed and lost confidence when he began the year in a slump, and it was worrisome that it took him so long to recover. He continued to produce similar numbers from both sides of the plate, so it wasn't a matter of his righty stroke regressing. Wilmington's Frawley Stadium is a tough hitter's park that muted his power, but Lowrie has double-digit home run pop. He'll need to do a better job of maintaining his strength through the six-month grind of pro ball. He has the hands and arm to stay at shortstop, but his speed is just average and he doesn't have the quickness and range to stay there. He committed 25 errors in 88 games at short last year despite a reputation for being fundamentally sound. Boston knows he can handle second base due to his experience there at Stanford. He'll probably move up to Double-A in 2007, when he'll try to erase doubts about whether he profiles as a regular on a contender.
Lowrie won the Pacific-10 Conference triple crown as a sophomore in 2004 but slipped as a junior, allowing the Red Sox to get him with the 45th overall pick. Lowrie led the New York-Penn League in on-base percentage and played a solid shortstop after manning second base at Stanford. After previous struggles in the Alaska League and with Team USA, he eased doubts about his ability to hit with wood during his pro debut. A switch-hitter, he shortened and smoothed out his swing from the right side. He has good loft power from the left side and knows the strike zone. The Red Sox think he has enough arm strength and athleticism to remain at shortstop for a while. He has average speed. Lowrie's ability to stick at shortstop hinges on his range. His footwork and lateral movement are the question marks, though he was better than expected in both areas. He's not used to making plays from deep in the hole, which give him trouble. Lowrie will skip a level and go to high Class A for his first full season. With Dustin Pedroia playing second base and Hanley Ramirez traded, Lowrie is now the system's top shortstop prospect.
Minor League Top Prospects
Lowrie opened the season in Triple-A, but after Julio Lugo went down with a quad injury in mid-July, Lowrie proved he was more than up to the challenge of playing every day in Boston, adapting quickly to big league pitching. A polished offensive player, Lowrie rarely offers at pitches outside the strike zone. A switch-hitter, he has hit for a higher average and more power over the past two seasons as a righthanded batter. As a lefty, he has shown a better feel for the strike zone and more bat control. His power is strictly to the gaps now, but some observers saw the potential for 10-15 homers in the future. A second baseman in college, Lowrie has made a smooth transition to shortstop as a pro, showing average range and good hands. He has enough arm for the left side of the infield, and he could move to third base if necessary.
Slowed significantly last year by an ankle injury, Lowrie rebounded with a huge 2007 season, both at the plate and in the field. He dug himself out of a 9-for-53 (.170) start with the league's best plate discipline and an excellent two-strike approach. Lowrie got himself into hitters' counts and lashed line drives from gap to gap, en route to 47 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A, the fourth-best total in the minor leagues. A switch-hitter, he's more aggressive and has more pop from the right side and projects to hit 10-15 home runs annually. Lowrie hit at Stanford and was expected to hit as a pro, but his defense had been a question. The consensus now is that he can be an average big league shortstop with slightly above-average range and good hands. His quick release helps his average arm play up.
Lowrie answered questions about his offensive potential after a lackluster, injury-marred 2006 by cracking 47 doubles between Pawtucket and Double-A Portland, a total good for fourth in the minors. While he continued to produce as a lefthanded batter--traditionally his strong side--the switch-hitting Lowrie was markedly better from the right side in 2007, hitting 51 points higher from that side at Triple-A. With a line-drive stroke and advanced knowledge of the strike zone, Lowrie projects to be an above-average hitter with enough power for double-digit home run totals and plenty of doubles. Though he profiles as an offense-oriented player, Lowrie possesses good actions, sure hands and a strong arm at shortstop, though his range is just average. In fact, more than one manager wondered if Lowrie had the first-step quickness and athleticism needed to stay at short. Even if he doesn't, Lowrie has enough bat and arm to profile at third base.
A revelation offensive and defensively in his 2005 pro debut, Lowrie suffered a high ankle sprain in May, missed a month and didn't find any rhythm at the plate until August. When he finally go healthy, he hit .325 with two of his three homers in the final month. While there are questions about Lowrie remaining at short because he lacks range and eye-popping arm strength, several scouts compared him to Jeff Blauser and Kevin Elster and gave him a chance to stay there. "He's kind of like David Eckstein with a lot better tools," an AL scout said. "You sit there and say to yourself, 'That guy's an everyday shortstop.' He makes the plays, nothing necessarily real flashy, but he's going to get it done."
Lowrie had a knock for not being able to hit with wood after batting .224 in the Alaska League in 2003 and .230 with Team USA last summer. He erased those concerns quickly as a pro, hitting .328 and leading the NY-P in on-base percentage. A switch-hitter, Lowrie is better from the left side, hitting .348 as compared to .256 from the right. He has a slight loop in his swing that causes him to pop up pitches high in the zone. Overall, he's a similar hitter to Ellsbury, though he doesn't have Ellsbury's speed and probably won't play a premium defensive position. A second baseman in college, Lowrie was pressed into duty at shortstop for Lowell and looked adequate. He has some arm strength but wasn't used to the longer throws from short, so he had difficulty figuring out which grounders he should charge and which he should wait on.