Jed Lowrie was a bargain for players last year because he came cheaply and he did something he's only done one other time in his career -- avoid the disabled list. His 2017 looked a lot like his only other full season across the board (11.3 walk percentage, 15.5 strikeout percentage, 119 wRC+), but betting on back-to-back healthy years from him is an exercise in futility, especially at his age (turns 34 in April). Like most switch hitters, Lowrie's power side is the left side while he hits for a decent average in limited exposure to lefties. The power spike, for him, came from him getting back to hitting more flyballs (43.5 flyball percentage), which is something the injuries in 2016 did not allow him to do (32.0 percent). The second base job is Lowrie's for 2018 and he can contribute in everything but steals, but you better have a good backup plan in place.
Lowrie is hitting .154 (2-for-13) with a double, a home run, two RBI, two walks and two runs in five spring training games. The highlight of the versatile veteran's spring thus far is the two-run home run he launched off Danny Farquhar in Monday's 9-9 tie with the White Sox, as he's been largely silent otherwise. The subject of trade rumors as the deadline neared last season, Lowrie ultimately remained with the Athletics and posted his best home run (14), RBI (69) and batting average (.277) totals since the 2013 campaign, as well as his top OBP (.360) and slugging percentage (.448) since 2010. The resurgent effort led to his $6 million option getting picked up for the coming season. Lowrie is expected to serve as the everyday second baseman.
Lowrie will likely see the majority of the starts at second base for the Athletics in 2018, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Lowrie is coming off a season in which he put up career numbers, playing in 153 games and batting .277 with 14 home runs and 69 RBI. Oakland picked up the 33-year-old's $6 million option for the 2018 season with the hopes that he'll be able to replicate his numbers from last year. Manager Bob Melvin stated "Jed's the guy" while discussing the state of the position, so it appears he'll be the A's primary second baseman.
Lowrie will return as the A's second baseman next season, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A's general manager David Forst reportedly said that Lowrie will be returning, suggesting the team plans to pick up his $6 million option for 2018. The veteran suited up for 153 contests, racking up a career-high 49 doubles to go with 69 RBI, a .277 average and 86 runs. Given that it will be the last year of his contract, Lowrie will be motivated to perform well again in what will be his age-34 season.
Lowrie went 3-for-5 with a double, a grand slam, five RBI and two runs against the Tigers on Tuesday. The last three games have seen Lowrie drive home nine runs courtesy of four extra-base knocks, but his hot streak actually extends all the way back into August -- over his last 17 games, Lowrie's hit .365/.468/.603 with a couple homers, 16 RBI, 15 runs and a startling 13:8 BB:K. The veteran second baseman has easily set a new career high in walks (67) this season, driving what's been one of the best campaigns of his inconsistent, injury-ravaged career.
Lowrie went 1-for-3 with three RBI from a run-scoring double, a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk in Monday's 8-3 win over the Tigers. He also had an additional walk. Lowrie made the most of his at-bats in the win, leading to his second multi-RBI game in the last five contests. The veteran has reached safely in nine straight games and has seven of his 10 RBI in September over the last six contests as well. Factoring in Monday's production, he's now slashing .340/.460/.560 over 63 September plate appearances.