- Full name Mark Christopher Lowe
- Born 06/07/1983 in Houston, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Texas-Arlington
- Debut 07/07/2006
Drafted in the 5th round (153rd overall) by the Seattle Mariners in 2004 (signed for $170,000).
View Draft ReportRedshirt sophomore RHP Mark Lowe barely pitched in his first two years at Texas-San Antonio, taking 2003 off to focus on his mechanics. He showed a low-90s fastball last summer in the Northwoods League and maintained it through the fall and spring. A 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, he needs to improve the consistency of his location and his hard curveball.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Lowe took off after a move to the bullpen in 2006, winning Seattle's minor league pitcher of the year award for his three-month trek from high Class A to the majors. His breakthrough season was cut short that August with what was believed to be elbow tendinitis. Doctors instead found that he had no cartilage in the joint and had to perform a drastic, unprecedented microfracture operation in an effort to regenerate it. Lowe's stuff jumped a grade as a reliever. Prior to elbow surgery, his fastball reached a consistent 94-96 mph with quality life. His hard slider had late, quick break and chews up righthanders. He also had a changeup for lefties, and all three of his pitches were plus at times. His command and control also improved in short stints when he could cut loose. In addition to his elbow woes, Lowe also missed three weeks in 2006 with a shoulder impingement. Limited to just 13 innings last year, he didn't cut loose, couldn't pitch on consecutive days and threw only bullpens in instructional league. Team doctors told the Mariners that Lowe will be under no restrictions in spring training, so that's when they'll get a better idea if his stuff will come back. If Lowe is healthy, he'll be an asset as a late-inning reliever, possibly filling Brandon Morrow's role if Morrow moves to the rotation as planned.
Lowe's first full pro season was rough, as he posted a 5.47 ERA as a starter in low Class A in 2005. Moved to the bullpen in 2006, he was named Seattle's minor league pitcher of the year after needing just three months to go from high Class A to the majors. Lowe always projected as a reliever and his stuff jumped when he switched roles. His fastball went from 89-93 mph to a consistent 94-96 with quality life. His hard slider has late, quick break and chews up righthanders. He also has a changeup for lefties, and all three of his pitches are plus-plus at times. Lowe did a better job of throwing strikes when he didn't have to worry about doing anything more than cutting loose in short stints. Lowe missed three weeks in May with a shoulder impingement and was shut down in August with what was believed to be elbow tendinitis. Doctors planned to clean up his elbow with arthroscopy but found that he had no cartilage in the joint and had to perform a more drastic microfracture operation. Lowe's outlook is uncertain. If the surgery doesn't regenerate enough cartilage, he'd have to try to pitch with bone rubbing on bone. If he regains his health and stuff, he'll be a future closer. There's no exact timetable for his return, though the Mariners hope he can get back on the mound in May.
Lowe barely pitched in his first two years at Texas-Arlington, redshirting in 2003 to focus on his mechanics. He unveiled a low-90s sinker in the Northwoods League that summer, and that's the pitch that got him drafted in the fifth round and earned him a $170,000 bonus last June. Lowe can hit the mid-90s on occasion, but he's still primarily a work in progress. He never filled a more challenging role than setup man as an amateur, and had more success as a closer than as a starter in his pro debut. That's because he's still rounding out his repertoire. His hard slider is still inconsistent and takes a back seat to his changeup, which also needs refinement. He's also working on improving the location of his pitches because he doesn't always throw quality strikes. Lowe may project better as a reliever, but he does have the arm and stamina to handle starting. The Mariners will keep him in the rotation this year in low Class A.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the Seattle Mariners in 2008
- Rated Best Slider in the Seattle Mariners in 2007
- Rated Best Reliever in the California League in 2006
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the California League in 2006