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Tracking Brandon Lowe’s rise

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A brief history of the major headlines of Lowe’s career thus far

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Brandon Lowe is now locked in as a part of the Rays’ future, with them guaranteeing him at least $24M over the next six seasons with two option years that bring that total up to $49M, along with incentives.

Let’s look back and follow Lowe’s journey through the Rays system.

2015 MLB Draft: Rays select college 2B Brandon Lowe

The Maryland second baseman can flat-out hit, with terrific strike-zone discipline and the ability to hit for average and get on base at a high clip. He’s not a huge power guy, but he does have some strength from the left side of the plate. Lowe tore his ACL right at the start of his freshman season and has worked his way back to full health, but he’s not going to be a big threat on the basepaths. His arm will play at second and he makes the routine plays.

Brandon Lowe receives rare, accelerated called up to Rays

Lowe has been hitting the snot off the ball this season, first slashing .291/.400/.508 in 54 Double-A games, before improving on those numbers with a .304/.380/.613 slash line in 46 Triple-A games. He was a combined 22 home runs in those 100 games.

Kean Wong and the window of opportunity

Kolten Wong, Cardinal’s infielder and brother in Durham Bull infielder/outfielder Kean Wong, ripped into the Rays for their handling of his brother, calling them a “bad organization” ... let’s take a deeper look.

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Even during his “breakout” year, Wong is slashing .282/.345/.406 with just nine homers. Sure, he added some versatility to his repertoire by playing left field, but so has Wendle (shortstop/third/left) and Brandon Lowe (left/right). It’s hard to see Wong’s arm playing at short the way Wendle’s does, nor his power equaling Lowe’s surprising tally in 2018.

In truth, Kean Wong faces steep competition in the Rays system.

His promotion was skipped when Brandon Lowe put together his power stroke, and TB was quick to promote the young second baseman during the rebuild to see if the game power was real. So far the answer has been yes, with Lowe already adding 5 homeruns to his tally in 109 PA (.247 ISO).

MLB Debut: Rays INF/OF Brandon Lowe is sure you’ll remember his name

Lowe has had a remarkable season, vaulting into Baseball America’s top-ten list in a loaded Rays farm system through one of the better seasons at the plate the Rays have seen, among any level in the minor leagues.

Could Brandon Lowe be the next Nelson Cruz?

Based on the 92 balls he put into play, he hit the ball harder, at a better angle, more often than the average MLB player. His 10.9% barrel rate means he squared the ball up perfectly nearly twice as often as the average. His 89.3 average exit velocity was exactly 2mph faster than average. His 13.9 degree launch angle was 3 degrees higher than the 10.9 MLB average, and his 43.5% hard hit rate was far above the average of 34.1%.

Brandon Lowe and Vidal Brujan among top 2B prospects

Brandon Lowe broke out in 2018, thanks to improved power at the plate. His performance allowed him to rise rapidly through the Rays system and make his MLB debut in August. He totaled 28 HR across the three toughest levels in baseball, finishing with 6 HR over 148 big league plate appearances, registering 113 wRC+ and 0.8 fWAR over 43 games

Tampa Bay Rays sign Brandon Lowe to six-year contract extension

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe to a six-year contract through 2024, with club options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons. The pact will pay Lowe at least $24 million, and up to $49 million if options are exercised and incentives are reached.