Sunday, January 11, 2009

Around the Horn: Jed Lowrie

I'm just assuming that Mr. Lowrie is the heir presumptive to the revolving door that is the starting shortstop job in Boston. Who knows, Julio Lugo might show up to Spring Training having worked his butt off and win back the position, but I'm going to put that possibility in the "distinct long shot" category, at least for now.

What do any of us know about Jed Lowrie, really? Did you know, for instance, that his middle name is Carlson? Or that he hits more than a hundred points better at night (.288) than during the day (.184)? I think we can safely blame that last one on small sample size, but Lowrie just might be the biggest mystery in the Sox infield [beyond "Will Mike Lowell be 100%?"]. However, Mike Lowell's health affects his level of productivity, whereas we have yet to discover the potential ceiling for Lowrie. He had a broken bone in one of his hands down the stretch last season: was that part of the reason that his average versus left handed pitching was significantly worse than against right handed pitching, or is it more of an inherent weakness?

In 2007, while in the minor leagues [Pawtucket and Portland], Lowrie hit .250 against lefties, and .277 against righties: a difference, yes, but in this larger sample, it seems he hits better left handed than right handed, giving credence to the theory that his injured hand affected his hitting. If this is the case, Lowrie might even prove to be impressive, not simply an acceptable replacement for the injured Lugo.

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