Jump to content
NBC Sports Edge Forums

Brandon Lowe 2020 Outlook


Recommended Posts

I also have Brandon Lowe on my keeper team and I'm a bit leery of keeping him. My worry is that he becomes a left-handed hitting Jonathon Schoop. His ability to hit 30 HR is real, but his 35% K rate is a huge liability. The question is: will Lowe improve on his K rate, or, will pitchers find a way to pitch to his hole in his bat the same way they learned to do with Schoop. The answer is unknown and if I was in a dynasty league I would definitely be willing to gamble on him in 2020. He's worth a gamble, but by no means is he a sure bet.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Fbaseballgod said:

For someone who uses a lot of advanced stats, why aren’t you concerned with his Xba of .244?

 

a 240 hitter with 30 HR value is fine, but meh 

 

xBA takes into account real-life strikeouts, so that's factoring in his 35% K-rate and assuming that won't improve going forward.  He also had an xwOBA of .346, which was good for 87th in MLB.  

Overall I feel like xBA is flawed enough that there are better predictive stats.  There are players like Kris Bryant and Arenado that consistently out-perform their xBA by .020 points, and others that often under-perform.  It's using batted ball stats to predict what should have happened with those batted balls to try and be predictive of future performance, but then also just plopping current K-rate into the equation, as if it's assumed that can't or won't change.  

If I'm buying a later round player and hoping to strike gold, I'd much rather put my chips behind a player that hits the ball hard and in the air, versus someone with a very average batted ball profile but less swing and miss.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, B&F said:

I am pretty much out on any TB player other than Meadows due to playing time issues.

 

 

 

Who do you actually think is a viable threat to Lowe's ABs?  Joey Wendle?  Daniel Robertson?  The bench group the Rays have are a bunch of JAGs.  1B, 3B, and DH will see a rotation all season likely, but can't see much of a rotation in the middle infield.  And FWIW most projection models have Lowe projected around 600 PA.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, handyandy86 said:

 

Who do you actually think is a viable threat to Lowe's ABs?  Joey Wendle?  Daniel Robertson?  The bench group the Rays have are a bunch of JAGs.  1B, 3B, and DH will see a rotation all season likely, but can't see much of a rotation in the middle infield.  And FWIW most projection models have Lowe projected around 600 PA.  

MLB has added a 26th player to active rosters in 2020. I have a strong suspicion this will result in even more platooning in Tampa (and across all of baseball). Last year Lowe had a 138wRC+ against righties and 77 against lefties. Admittedly it was a small sample size but he struck out 52.9% of the time against lefties.
 

Meanwhile, Michael Brosseau had a 120wRC+ against lefties (96 vs righties). Robertson also hits lefties better. The Rays also have a ton of middle infield prospect talent in the minors knocking on the door. I’d be shocked if Lowe isn’t platooned. Unfortunately I hate seeing that because it’s terrible for player development for a young player, but it’s how Tampa rolls and they have aspirations for a deep playoff run next year. He’ll need regular at bats against lefties to get better against them but I don’t see him getting them next year.

 

FWIW I’d be all over shares of Lowe in a daily league with a deep bench. In a weekly league with shallow benches I’ll probably find other options.

Edited by meh2
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, meh2 said:

MLB has added a 26th player to active rosters in 2020. I have a strong suspicion this will result in even more platooning in Tampa (and across all of baseball). Last year Lowe had a 138wRC+ against righties and 77 against lefties. Admittedly it was a small sample size but he struck out 52.9% of the time against lefties.

Meanwhile, Michael Brosseau had a 120wRC+ against lefties (96 vs righties). Robertson also hits lefties better. The Rays also have a ton of middle infield prospect talent in the minors knocking on the door. I’d be shocked if Lowe isn’t platooned. Unfortunately I hate seeing that because it’s terrible for player development for a young player, but it’s how Tampa rolls and they have aspirations for a deep playoff run next year. He’ll need regular at bats against lefties to get better against them but I don’t see him getting them next year.

FWIW I’d be all over shares of Lowe in a daily league with a deep bench. In a weekly league with shallow benches I’ll probably find other options.

Lowe also played some in the outfield and at 1B last year.  When they want to give someone else a day in the middle infield and someone off in the outfield or 1B then Brandon can get more time that way too.  The majority of TB infield players are basically Swiss army knives but I still think he will get almost everyday time at 2B.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy literally missed half a season with a BRUISE.  Can we understate that enough?  I own him in multiple dynasties but I have serious doubts what happens if he gets hit by a pitch.  Will his body discombobulate?  Good talent but a lot of questions.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2019 at 1:04 AM, Cmilne23 said:

Guy literally missed half a season with a BRUISE.  Can we understate that enough?  I own him in multiple dynasties but I have serious doubts what happens if he gets hit by a pitch.  Will his body discombobulate?  Good talent but a lot of questions.

 

He's never had injury trouble throughout his MiLB career, so I don't have much concern. If he was that soft he'd have been sitting out all the time. 

Lots of reasons to have doubts about Lowe, but injuries isn't one of them. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2019 at 7:25 PM, BCMarch10 said:

Lowe is a MUCH better hitter against righties. They tend to platoon him against lefties and/or drop him in the batting order too. For me, I only used him against righties. This limits his value in my opinion.

 

He hit over .300 against LHP in the minors, higher than he did against righties (albeit for less power). I think it would be a mistake for the Rays to already settle for him being a platoon bat, but I also wouldn't be shocked. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, handyandy86 said:

 

He's never had injury trouble throughout his MiLB career, so I don't have much concern. If he was that soft he'd have been sitting out all the time. 

Lots of reasons to have doubts about Lowe, but injuries isn't one of them. 

How so?  He just missed half of a baseball season with a bruise?

Edited by Cmilne23
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cmilne23 said:

How so?  He just missed half of a baseball season with a bruise?

There are bruises and there are bruises.  "Just a bruise" you say but how do you know what it entailed unless you were his doctor.  I'm sorry but you have used that tern twice but unless you can explain how the bruise he had was some low grade thing I don't get your "just a bruise" thing as if this wasn't a bad injury.

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Cmilne23 said:

How so?  He just missed half of a baseball season with a bruise?

 

It's just like anything, you can have a paper cut, or a cut that goes halfway through your torso. Unless you have some kind of specialized medical background and access to Lowe's medical files, just saying he missed a long time with a bruise is nothing more than over simplified guessing. 

I'm guessing he had lots of different bruises in the past 3-4 years, and this seems to be the only one he missed significant time with. Obviously there was something different this time. And if you avoid every player that's been hurt with things you don't understand, you're really limiting yourself. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not doubt his quality on contact will be impressive. Some of those metrics tell you more about power output(LA, Exit Velo). Some are not stable(Sweet spot). Or they represent such a low% of total outcomes(Barrels/PA). 

 

Lowe is netting 10.9 Outcomes (per 100) with a .822 BA vs .298 BA. Gaining 5.7116 Hits per 100 in a vaccum (.057 BA raise)

Lowe is netting 34.6 Outcomes (per 100) with a .000 BA vs .298 BA. Losing 10.318 Hits per 100 in a vaccum. (103 BA drop)

.46 Net BA loss vs .298= .252 BA. That would be his mean BA projection only calculating Barrels PA and K%. (More factor influence BA obviously)

 

The main question mark with the numbers is repeating it for a full year.  You cannot assume he will see the same pitch mix. My criticism from last year was I did not think his plate coverage/poor contact rate vs his O-swing/Swing rate is was not sustainable in both BA and extreme power output.

Caveat for that is he could very well tighten his K zone and remedy some of this. He has a very good swing, the talent is there. So if the price is right, worth the gamble for the upside of a youth improving.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Slatykamora said:

Do not doubt his quality on contact will be impressive. Some of those metrics tell you more about power output(LA, Exit Velo). Some are not stable(Sweet spot). Or they represent such a low% of total outcomes(Barrels/PA). 

 

Lowe is netting 10.9 Outcomes (per 100) with a .822 BA vs .298 BA. Gaining 5.7116 Hits per 100 in a vaccum (.057 BA raise)

Lowe is netting 34.6 Outcomes (per 100) with a .000 BA vs .298 BA. Losing 10.318 Hits per 100 in a vaccum. (103 BA drop)

.46 Net BA loss vs .298= .252 BA. That would be his mean BA projection only calculating Barrels PA and K%. (More factor influence BA obviously)

 

The main question mark with the numbers is repeating it for a full year.  You cannot assume he will see the same pitch mix. My criticism from last year was I did not think his plate coverage/poor contact rate vs his O-swing/Swing rate is was not sustainable in both BA and extreme power output.

Caveat for that is he could very well tighten his K zone and remedy some of this. He has a very good swing, the talent is there. So if the price is right, worth the gamble for the upside of a youth improving.

 

Another important factor is where they intend to bat him in the lineup, far more valuable to be in the top 5 in the order versus bottom 3 or something in that range, imo.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
27 minutes ago, BigPapi44 said:

Did Lowe play enough OF to qualify in Yahoo?  I see him listed as a 2B on his Yahoo page, but I don't actually see the draft area where it might list his other positions.

You can always check fielding positions on Baseball Reference.  It's my number one bookmark outside my team pages.  Here is Brandon Lowe's:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lowebr01.shtml

For those not wanting to click.  Yes.  He re-qualifies on Yahoo's 5 games started rule for: 2B (60 games started), 1B (5 games started) and OF (5 games started). 

But in RF/CF/LF leagues (instead of just OF only) he doesn't re-qualify in any outfield position since he only started 3 games in RF and 2 games in LF.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/18/2019 at 4:35 PM, handyandy86 said:

Being in a dynasty league that is very active all year-round, I recently took some time to download MLB Statcast data from 2019, and started doing some analysis trying to look for trends and value players for 2020.  The process I used I'm sure is imperfect in a lot of ways, and sometimes arbitrary, but Brandon Lowe ended up being a player that really jumped off the page at me.

I started off by identifying the Statcast categories that I thought held the most importance, and then sorted the leaders in those categories.  For each category I made the cut-off 150 batted ball events minimum (which seems to translate to about half a season of games), and looked at roughly the top 50-60 ranked players.  Taking the top 60 in each category, I combined the five categories together to see which names appeared most often, and any other trends I could see.

The categories I looked at were:

Barrels / PA % - a "barrel" being a batted ball that falls into a combined range of Launch Angle and Exit Velocity where that batted ball type has a batting average of .500 or higher.  This is a bit of an overlap on LA and EV each on their own (players with high EV and optimal LA will also obviously have a high barrel rate), but I felt it was a good statistic to show a group of players that both hit the ball hard, and hit the ball at a near-optimal launch angle.

Launch Angle - pretty self-explanatory, but there are studies of batted ball events showing a LA around 19 degrees might be optimal in that it has the widest range of positive outcomes.  

Sweet Spot % - this is a measure how often a batted ball event occurs between LA's of 8 degrees and 32 degrees, the range that most often produces a hit.  A lot of players have the ability to hit the ball very hard, but too often hit it into the ground, or pop it up.  

Max & AVG Exit Velocity - also fairly straight forward, how hard does a player hit the ball at his max end, and on average how hard does he hit the ball.  

 

What I found interesting, is there was not a lot of overlap between categories.  Each category was mostly full of high end talent in the top 60, but most players appearing on the list only appeared in 1 or 2 of the 5 categories.  A lot of productive players have a high Launch Angle and high Sweet Spot %, meaning they often hit the ball in the desired LA range, but don't hit the ball especially hard (examples include Alex Bregman and Cavan Biggio).  Other players hit the ball very hard, but at a sub-optimal LA, which actually results in a less effective player than the high-LA/low-EV type (examples like Vlad Jr and Jorge Alfaro).  

Most interesting though was there were only 2 players in all of MLB who found themselves on this list as leaders in every one of the categories above.  One of them was Mike Trout, which is not in the least bit shocking.  But the other player was Brandon Lowe! This is how the two stacked up:

Mike Trout -     11.0 Brls/PA % (3rd), 22.2 degree LA (5th), 44.1 SwSp % (3rd), 116.6 MPH Max EV (10th), 90.7 MPH AVG EV (53rd)

Brandon Lowe - 9.2 Brls/PA % (17th), 18.7 degree LA (31st), 40.2 SwSp % (27th), 114.3 MPH Max EV (41st), 91.1 MPH AVG EV (37th)

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying Lowe is the next Trout or anything, and the cut-offs I used were somewhat arbitrary.  Lowe also only had about half a season of data to go on, so there is a small sample size caveat here.  But I am still thoroughly impressed that he is the only other MLBer to rank high in all of these batted ball metrics aside from the GOAT Trout.  He hits the ball very hard, he has a near-perfect launch angle, and he very often connects with the ball.  What more could you want?

Most "experts" at this point in the off-season seem to have Lowe penciled in for a lot of regression, mainly pointing to his high K-rate of 34.6%.  Nobody can maintain the AVG and pace Lowe had with that many K's, they say.  But the batted ball profile he showed in his limited time in 2019 was extremely good.  Lowe also had a MiLB career K% more around 25%, and it is very common to see a rookie struggle more with MLB pitching and have a higher-than-normal K% initially.  It seems more probable to me that Lowe is able to become more disciplined with 2019 under his belt, and lower his K% some, versus continuing on with a 35% K-rate and seeing regression.  While the high K% is what many are pointing to as a bubble about to burst for Lowe in 2020, I see it as the only blemish from 2019 that is keeping Lowe somewhat of a fantasy secret and bargain.

People also seem weary of the "Rays doing Rays things" and somehow finding ways to limit his ABs, which I also think is a lot of worrying with little to substantiate it.  Lowe is currently projected to be the Rays' starting 2B and bat lead-off, with career mediocre hitter Joey Wendle the only player behind him on the depth chart.  Both Lowe and Wendle are LH batters, so you can't even argue the platoon game.  And while the Rays' OF looks nice and full right now, Lowe can play both corner OF spots, and an injury in their OF could necessitate a temporary move out there as well.  The versatility certainly doesn't hurt.

Early ADP's have Lowe going off the board around the 10th-12th 2B, which to me is a steal.  All of the batted ball data from 2019 would indicate that Lowe is a very good hitter, who both hits the ball very hard, and in the air.  Maybe this isn't going out on too much of a limb, but I see Lowe finishing 2020 as a top-5 2B in fantasy, and being a very high end fantasy player for many years to come.  I'm buying / holding everywhere - I could very well end up being wrong about him, but when almost all of the data points in one direction, you have to follow it IMHO.

Steamer has Lowe projected at a .248 / .321 / .477 line with 23 HR in 576 PA.  I don't tend to like to project my own stat lines, but given that Lowe was a .300+ hitter in MiLB, and his .270 AVG last year in MLB, I think he can at least match that .270 AVG while lowering his K-rate in 2020.  And based on his batted ball profile, I think 30+ HR is a very real possibility.  If he can put up something like .275 AVG / .350 OBP / 30 HR and hit at the top of the Rays' order all year, he could easily eclipse 100 R, as well as put up a nice RBI total.  I'm sure those are "lofty" or "ceiling" type numbers, but if I'm betting on anyone to hit their ceiling it'll be the guy that hits the ball like Lowe.

 

 

 

Just wanted to thank you @handyandy86 for doing this research and sharing it.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...