One thing the A’s have missed since the early 2000’s was an offensive shortstop. Miguel Tejada spoiled A’s fans for years being terrific on both offense and defense and also being a team leader. Since then the A’s have seen multiple shortstops try and fail to duplicate the production and leadership Tejada brought to the team. One shortstop is trying to become the player that Miguel Tejada was and so far he has succeeded in most areas. That player of course is current A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie.
Jul 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie (8) singles against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Oakland Athletics won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Lowrie came over from the basement dwelling Houston Astros in the offseason. The A’s gave up a lot in return (Brad Peacock, Chris Carter, Max Stassi) for a player who was oft injured and coming off a season in which he only hit .244 AVG and a .331 OBP. Lowrie was known as a hitting shortstop whose glove had some holes, but was fairly consistent. If he could stay on the field his bat would shine through and become a valuable commodity for a league that lacks offensive firepower at the shortstop position.
That sentiment has become true, as Lowrie has stayed healthy for all of 2013. His bat has rebounded from a rough 2012 and become a stabilizing force in the A’s lackluster offense. Without his consistency or Josh Donaldson’s blossoming the A’s would more than likely be fourth in the division. Lowrie’s average has jumped forty points up to .283. That average has dropped in the last two weeks, but that still is higher than the A’s have seen since Tejada was in the mid .300 range.
One knock on Lowrie is his defense. His unique albeit interesting way of picking groundballs off to the side of his body rather than straight up leads to some costly errors at times and frustrated pitchers. His own frustration also costs him at times by not finishing plays. If he can have just a few less errors in the second half his value will be even higher.
Jed Lowrie is an important piece to the A’s potential postseason puzzle. He plays hard everyday and is a consistent offensive threat. Though he may not contain the power that Josh Donaldson has his presence nearly everyday in the lineup helps the A’s to start or continue rallies especially late in games. It will be interesting to see if Addison Russell pans out. If Russell does not pan out or is moved to third the A’s may look to extend Lowrie next season. Regardless, Lowrie is helping a 1st place team stay in 1st place.