Jake Lowery Joins 'From Phenom To The Farm:' Episode 48
“From Phenom to the Farm” releases new episodes every other Tuesday featuring players whose experiences vary across the professional baseball spectrum. Players will discuss their personal experiences going from high school graduation to the life of a professional baseball player.
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For a professional baseball manager, serving as a guide and mentor to their players often proves just as, if not more important than anything having to do with the strategic aspect of baseball. They need to understand the ups and downs of life in baseball and translate those moments into wise words and direction.
As he enters his first season managing the 2022 Low-A Fredericksburg Nationals, Jake Lowery has plenty of experience from his playing career from both ends to draw on when it comes time to counsel his players.
Lowery certainly knows what elite success feels like, and when hot streak turns into a hot season.
Prior to his junior season at James Madison, Lowery had been a quality backstop for the Dukes—2nd team All-CAA as a sophomore, with a strong arm behind the plate and potential to possibly get drafted if he turned in a strong junior year.
Strong turned out to be an understatement—Lowery turned in a 2011 junior season for the ages.
“It just seemed like it was kind of like a dream” said Lowery. “I really didn’t have a couple bad weekends or anything like that—just stayed consistent, found knocks when I needed to, got guys in.”
“Got guys in” was also an understatement, as Lowery led the nation with 91 RBIs while setting JMU records in home runs (24) and extra-base hits (54) in a season, and would be named a 1st team Baseball America All-American, along with winning the Johnny Bench Award for the best catcher in college baseball.
He went from solid college catcher to prospect, getting nabbed by Cleveland as a 4th round pick in the 2011 draft and signing for $220,000—something that the business of baseball would eventually teach him was even more of a benefit to his career than just the initial financial bonus.
“Learning that part of the game is always tough for players,” said Lowery. “You see guys that maybe are later round draft picks that maybe don’t get as many chances (…) their window is a little bit smaller. Myself being a 4th rounder—I had a little bit of a cushion.”
Early in his career, Lowery worked his way up the minors and lived the life of a prospect in his organization’s plans. He enjoyed regular playing time at multiple minor league stops, a stint in the Arizona Fall League, and steady promotions for his first few seasons.
A few tough seasons in Double-A took the shine off Lowery’s prospect status. When Cleveland released him after 2016 spring training he was quickly picked up by the Nationals, but entered a new phase of his career.
During his half-decade as a player in the Nationals organization, Lowery transitioned into a role-player, and eventually something of a coach-in-waiting. At-bats and starts were few and far between, so Lowery spent his time working with pitchers, being a good teammate, and picking the brain of his various managers.
“A tale of two careers—five years and five years,” said Lowery.
Lowery hung up his spikes following the 2019 season, and transitioned right into managing following the lost 2020 MiLB season by spending 2021 at the helm of the Florida Complex League Nationals.
On our latest episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm’ former JMU standout and current Fredericksburg Nationals manager Jake Lowery joins to talk college superstardom, the ups and downs of pro ball, and what a good manager brings to his players.