Zac Lowther Gets Results
Lefthander Zac Lowther’s best work in big league camp came after he was optioned.
The Orioles placed Lowther on their travel roster for a March 24 game against the Red Sox and dumped him in a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth inning.
No sense easing him into the grind.
Lowther, a second-round pick in 2017 out of Xavier, induced a line drive to second base and double play grounder. He retired all eight batters he faced.
Nine outs recorded on 34 pitches. A manager who was impressed.
“First time I’ve really seen him for an extended period in game action and I thought he really threw the ball well,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I like the way he commanded his fastball, attacked hitters. Threw some changeups for strikes.”
The 24-year-old Lowther doesn’t give up many runs or lack in confidence. He didn’t pitch in 2020 because of the canceled minor league season and hasn’t faced hitters above Double-A, but he expects to be in the majors later this summer.
He made 26 starts with Bowie in 2019 and recorded a 2.55 ERA with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He surrendered just eight home runs.
Lowther doesn't light up radar guns, but his deceptive, high-spin fastball pairs with effective secondary stuff, including a plus curveball, to keep hitters flailing.
“He’s a guy who’s had a really nice minor league career up to this point, put up some great numbers,” Hyde said, “and we would like to see how that translates up here.”
First comes an assignment to the alternate training site and then he will join the Triple-A Norfolk rotation in May.
Lowther spent last summer at the alt site and the fall at instructional league. He sharpened his command and tweaked his mechanics in a controlled environment.
“I wouldn’t say I have a chip on my shoulder, but I do have that sense that I do belong," Lowther said, "but so does the hitter and I’m not going to take him lightly."
— The Cubs returned reliever Gray Fenter to the Orioles after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft. Fenter, 25, hasn’t pitched above the Low-A level, where he posted a 1.81 ERA and 1.102 WHIP and struck out 123 batters in 94.1 innings with Delmarva in 2019.
— Lefthander Alex Wells was optioned out of major league camp after failing to appear in an exhibition game due to an oblique injury. The Orioles placed Wells on the 40-man roster last November to protect him in the Rule 5 draft. He’s averaged 1.4 walks per nine innings in four minor league seasons and owns a 2.82 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 475 innings.