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Mike Lowell-Heating up?

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Postby silverZ » Sat May 06, 2006 1:11 am

nuggets wrote:Batting in front of Papi makes me think he is more likely to provide a solid average, quite a bit of runs and maybe a couple extra HR. I'm liking him at second right now.

Oh, forgot to add - for the first half anyway ;-)


Um...Loretta has been in the 2 spot all year. Lowell has been batting 7th mostly.
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Postby Mr Irrelevant » Sat May 06, 2006 9:35 am

He needs to swap with Loretta and bat in the 2 spot.
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Postby Armadillo Fury » Sat May 06, 2006 10:34 am

I think Lowell has a great chance to be a top 5 fantasy 2B by the end of the season.
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Postby thomasps3 » Sat May 06, 2006 10:36 am

Mr Irrelevant wrote:He needs to swap with Loretta and bat in the 2 spot.


I don't really think that is the short or long term solution for the Sawx. When Coco comes back, I really think they have two options:

Continue with Loretta in the two hole, or move him down to 9th and put the OBP king Youkilis in the two hole. I really prefer the latter, since Youk is really patient at the plate and will allow Papi and Manny the opportunity to see a lot of pitches and what the P is throwing. Also, quite obviously, there is the runs scored factor as well, with the best 1-2 punch in the majors behind him...
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Sat May 06, 2006 11:41 am

I actually wrote a fairly detailed article back toward the end of April called Mike Lowell - Doubles Machine. I don't buy that scouts just said his bat had slowed down to explain his performance...it's nice that Lowell wants to say that and all but I think age and possibly other issues may have contributed to a slight decline in skills.

The article covers things in good detail so I won't spend too much time writing more but basically a player that has 25-30hr power and then loses a bit of power isn't going to have all of those warning track shots get caught...some of them will find the gap for doubles. I predicted a 48 double season for Lowell based on that premise but only 8 hr's. Right now he's on track for about 10-11 hr's and about 88 doubles so other than the scale I was just about right on the doubles he's hitting.

Obviously he's not going to keep up what he's been doing recently but given what he's done so far I don't think doubles in the 50's would be out of the question (given the cushion of 16 in 103 at bats he has now). The batting average is NOT for real though. He's benifited from a 37.4% hits in play ratio which is not sustainable given his career number of just below 30%. However he is striking out a bit less than I projected (9.7% versus 12.59% of at bats) so if he can keep just that number up I could see him hitting about .285 the rest of the way instead of the .273 that I projected for him.

Edit: Just wanted to add that the problem with Lowell's value right now is his spot in the batting order. Even if he can put up 50+ doubles with 11-12 hr's and a .285 average that's only marginally valuable at second base (and not valuable at all at third base) if he's hitting 7th in the order. Even with him getting unbelievably lucky so far with hits falling in for him he still doesn't project to much over 90 runs or rbi's.

When he regressed back to a 30% hit rate on balls in play and has his average regress from the .350 it is right now back to a .285 or so that he'll get about 4/5 to 5/6 the run production he's getting now. That amounts to a 72-75 run and rbi player over 158 games played and just isn't overly valuable. If the Red Sox ignore the numbers though and just get enamored by his .350 average up to this point and he somehow finds himself hitting #2 in the order that value could skyrocket...a second baseman with low double-digit home run power, good gap doubles power, decent walk numbers and a .285 average ability would be very valuable hitting second in that Red Sox lineup.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Sat May 06, 2006 3:31 pm

Very interesting thing I just heard on baseballhq.com's podcast from today and when I looked it up I saw they were definitely right.

Lowell has been remarkably consistant his entire career (including last year's off year) with right around a 33% ground ball percentage. This year he's pushing close to 40%. If he's altered his swing in some way that's caused that it would be yet another indicator of less home run power with a trade-off that more ground balls go for hits than fly balls meaning we can expect a higher BABIP and thus a higher batting average. That could definitely indicate the ability to hit even up close to a luck-neutral .290.
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Postby cordscords » Sat May 06, 2006 3:42 pm

Lowell's timing is right on this year. He's always got his bat on the ball as soon as it starts to cross the plate. He's jumping on pitches right now and it's working.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Sat May 06, 2006 4:05 pm

cordscords wrote:Lowell's timing is right on this year. He's always got his bat on the ball as soon as it starts to cross the plate. He's jumping on pitches right now and it's working.


I'm interested about the use of the phrase 'jumping on pitches'. If you've watched him a bit does he look like he's back most of the way through the swing or does he look like he's jumping out toward the ball. If it's the latter that would explain the larger GB% as he'd have less ability to uppercut the ball if he's out in front. If it's working he definitely shouldn't change anything and it may be an adjustment he's made to adjust to less strength to create bat speed. If he is leading with his body rather than staying back and allowing his hands to create bat speed that would go a long way toward explaining the numbers we're seeing as far as ground balls, doubles and home runs (as well as the reduced strikeout rate if it's a comfortable swing for him).
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Postby cordscords » Sat May 06, 2006 4:15 pm

The Loveable Losers wrote:
cordscords wrote:Lowell's timing is right on this year. He's always got his bat on the ball as soon as it starts to cross the plate. He's jumping on pitches right now and it's working.


I'm interested about the use of the phrase 'jumping on pitches'. If you've watched him a bit does he look like he's back most of the way through the swing or does he look like he's jumping out toward the ball. If it's the latter that would explain the larger GB% as he'd have less ability to uppercut the ball if he's out in front. If it's working he definitely shouldn't change anything and it may be an adjustment he's made to adjust to less strength to create bat speed. If he is leading with his body rather than staying back and allowing his hands to create bat speed that would go a long way toward explaining the numbers we're seeing as far as ground balls, doubles and home runs (as well as the reduced strikeout rate if it's a comfortable swing for him).


He's not lunging at pitches, or waiting on pitches and getting the bat around quicker. He's simply starting his swing earlier than he was last year. He starts to step with his front foot as soon as the ball is viewable to us on the TV screen.

The swing looks real pretty, and he's driven a lot of balls hard down the 3B line, over the SS, and up the middle.
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Postby johnsamo » Sat May 06, 2006 4:59 pm

Yeah, his avg. is going to go up because of the Monster... A lot of his fly outs in Florida are now off the wall doubles... He's basically lost his power though... Good glove though. Just being in Boston makes hin a decent 2nd tier 3b, but don't ever expect 30+ homers again.
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