Oakland Athletics 2016 Preview: Infielder Jed Lowrie

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Oakland Athletics acquired infielder Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros on November 25, 2015.

This season, the Oakland Athletics will welcome back a familiar face to the O.co Coliseum – infielder Jed Lowrie. Lowrie played for the A’s in 2013 and 2014. Even though he was not a star on the team at that time, he provided valuable veteran leadership as well as consistent skills both at the plate and in the field. Now, Lowrie will return to the Athletics this season as the result of a trade with the Houston Astros. Funny enough, this is actually the second time in his career that he was been traded from the Astros to Oakland.

2015 was not the best season for Lowrie. He started off as Houston’s everyday starting shortstop, but was placed on the disabled list in late April after tearing a ligament in his thumb. This injury ultimately required surgery and he did not return to the field until after the All-Star Break.

During the time that he was injured, the Astros called up 20-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, who quickly blossomed into the team’s star middle infielder. So, when Lowrie was finally healthy, the shortstop position was not longer available. Lowrie ended up spending the rest of the season at third base. For 2015, he only hit .222/.312/.400 with a .712 OPS. 

Although Lowrie will be returning to a familiar ballpark, he will not be resuming the shortstop role he filled for the A’s back in 2013 and 2014. Once again, Lowrie’s usual fielding position has been taken by a younger, more promising ballplayer. With Marcus Semien at short, the A’s currently have Lowrie at second on their depth chart. Second base is Lowrie’s second-least played position, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to being the everyday starter there in 2016. 

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Lowrie tends to be injury-prone, but his two healthiest years while playing in the major leagues came during those seasons with Oakland. Out of the eight seasons he has played in the big leagues, those years with the A’s are the only times he appeared in more than 100 games. Additionally, his second best season in his career was with the Athletics in 2013. Let’s hope history can repeat itself in 2016. 

Unfortunately, his bat is not as strong as it use to be and many are worried about Lowrie’s arm strength. Even though he has played at shortstop for the majority of his career, Lowrie has never had the strongest arm for middle infielder. Hopefully second base will be an easier fielding position for Lowrie this upcoming season.

Since Lowrie is only a mediocre, yet consistent player, it is assumed that Lowrie was brought back to Oakland mainly for his switch hitting abilities and leadership skills. The Oakland Athletics love their versatile players and are also determined to improve the team chemistry in 2016. Lowrie can definitely be that veteran leader for all of the younger players on the team.

Next: Oakland Athletics: The Battle for Bullpen Spots

How well do you think Jed Lowrie will perform at second base in 2016? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! 

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