For fans around the league, when they see Brandon Lowe approaches the plate, it’s hard to believe the stats on the screen. An unopposing frame and playing for the seldom seen Tampa Bay Rays, this scrawny looking teenager can’t possibly be a key contributor for the team.
Then Lowe steps in the box and swings, makes contact, and sends the ball into the stands for yet another home run.
While fans may not recognize him, opposing pitchers have certainly began to fear seeing his name on the lineup card on any given night.
Here is where Lowe ranks in several offensive categories entering play on Friday:
- 2nd - SLG
- 7th - OBP
- 4th - AVG
- 6th - HR
- 1st - wRC+
- 1st - fWAR
We’re nearing the halfway point for this 60 game dash to the postseason, but it appears that Brandon Lowe is an early contender for the American League’s Most Valuable Player.
It’s even more remarkable to think about how under the radar his career has been.
Lowe was always an excellent hitter, but leg injuries led to him sliding down the draft to the Rays in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft. A broken leg that college season would cause him to miss the rest of the year but he made his debut in 2016 offensive capabilities. In 2017, Lowe would be named the Florida State League MVP, hitting .311/.403/.524 in the offensively suppressed confines of the FSL.
Once out of the FSL, Lowe was able to showcase his power and blistered his way from Double-A up to the Majors during the 2018 season. During his first taste of the Majors, Lowe hit .233/.324/.450 with 6 homeruns over 148 plate appearances.
Entering the 2019 season, the Rays rewaded Lowe with a six year contract extension and he rewarded the Rays with more of the same, as he continued to be a force to be reckoned with as he surged his way to being one of the Rays All-Star Game representatives. Unfortunately, Lowe would suffer an injury in early July of 2019 that effectively sidelined him until the final week of the regular season, necessitating a Rays trade for Eric Sogard.
Nonetheless, Lowe hit .270/.336/.514 with 17 homeruns over the 82 games he appeared in. Now Lowe is finally taking off in 2020.
With a scorching pace, Lowe already has 8 homeruns over just 25 games and is hitting .330/.410/.727. He has accrued 1.7 fWAR and is registering a 205 wRC+, likely making him a Rays All-Star again.