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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scouting Report Derek Lowe

This is the 3rd time the Mets have faced Lowe this year, and I will just have an update at the end of the report.

The 37-year old RHP was a highly sought-after free agent last year, and wound up getting a four-year, $60 million contract. The Mets hesitated on giving an aging veteran such as Lowe a four-year contract, and if last year was an indication (which I do agree with), the Mets made the right decision. Although he went 15-10 in 34 starts last year, he gave up 232 hits in 194 innings and had a .301 batting average against. He had a 4.67 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, while also seeing his GB rate decrease to 66% (75% in 2007). For his career against the Mets, he has started eight times, and is 3-4 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. He started five of those games last year with the Braves, and had a 6.94 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, with 10 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings. When he faced the Mets in May, he was on the short side on the decision, even though he threw seven innings, allowed three runs and only seven base-runners. On July 11th, he only lasted 5 1/3, once again taking the loss, allowing 8 hits and 2 walks, while allowing 2 runs and 4 k's.

The 6’6” Lowe throws from a ¾ to low ¾ arm slot, and features a sinking 87-88 mph and a late-breaking slider (80 mph). He throws his fastball 70% of the time, his slider 12% of the time (down from 26-31% previous two years), and he has increased the use of his change-up (84 mph) this year to 16% (previously was only a 'show-me pitch'). He rarely throws inside/backs hitters off the plate. He was never a strike out pitcher, but last year his rates decreased even further (5.1 K/9), and his walk rate increased from 1.9 W/9 to 2.9. As noted earlier, Lowe is a groundball pitcher but he started to leave the ball up in the zone more last year, and the hitters took advantage.

This year, he has made 18 starts (108 innings) and is 9-7, with a 4.40 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. His strikeout rate is the similar to last year (5.4 K/9), but has seen an increase in walks (3.5 W/9), the highest in his 14-year career, but he has been better lately. Since May 12th, he's made 11 starts, 70 1/3 innings, and has a 3.43 ERA (inflated by one terrible start Dbacks: four innings, seven earned runs), walking 23 and striking out 43.

UPDATE August 3rd: In his 3 starts since the All-Star break, he has thrown only 16 innings and allowed 3+ runs in each, and 25 base-runners and allowing 4 home runs. He hasn't thrown 6 innings since July 5th.

He's a league average pitcher on the decline; he is useful to the Braves (and would be for the Mets) but they wish he was making 6-8 million versus 15 million.

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