We all had plenty of opportunities to draft Nate Lowe prior to the 2022 MLB season, but instead the first baseman was available round after round. Ultimately, Lowe came off the board as the 27th first baseman in NFBC drafts with an ADP of 241. I am culpable in this as while I thought Lowe was a solid option entering the season as a corner infield, depth piece, that is where I saw his value ending. Instead, the Texas Rangers first baseman has taken a step forward in one specific category in 2022; home runs. 

With the fantasy baseball calendar getting closer to 2023 as the regular season draws to a close, it worth taking a closer look at Lowe to see what this means for next year. 




Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight: Nate Lowe

In 157 games last season, Lowe went deep 18 times while posting a .151 ISO. Lowe had a barrel-rate of 9.5% along with an average launch angle of just five degrees to go along with a hard-hit rate of 45.5%. Based on that, Lowe had a solid hit profile but there was nothing that truly jumped off the page or that informed a larger breakout would be coming. 

Lowe hit a solid .264 but posted a .357 OBP courtesy of a 12.5% walk rate as he was able to work around a 25.2% strikeout rate which does not raise nearly as many red flags as it used to. The first baseman drove in 72 runs while scoring 75 and as a nice bonus, stole eight bases. For his age 25 season, it was the beginning of a solid profile and stat base, but that was also where I thought Lowe would land for this year as well. 

Between a five-degree launch angle and a 54.5% ground ball rate, it was almost impressive that Lowe had 18 home runs last season, and it was difficult to see the potential for much more than that. 

Through games on Sunday, 141 in all, Lowe is currently at 25 home runs for the season and while I think he will ultimately finish short of the reaching 30, it is a nice improvement on last season. 

So, what happened to drive that change?




Perhaps the largest change here is seeing Lowe’s launch angle increase to eight degrees, but if even that is still far down from where we would expect or want it to be for a home run hitter. With a 9.7% barrel-rate and 43.6% hard-hit rate, Lowe stayed pretty consistent from last season, and while solid, it is not anything that is going to send me rushing to the draft board to drive up that ADP. 

But when you take a look at what Lowe is doing with the ball when he makes contact, then the improvement begins to make a little more sense as he brought his batting average up to .308. Lowe’s ground ball rate has seen a nice decrease to 47.4% with the corresponding increases bringing us to a 22.6%-line drive rate and 30% fly ball rate. At the same time, Lowe has brought his pull rate up from 26.4% to 32.9%. 

With 71 RBI at this point, Lowe should finish in the 80 to 85 range and the struggles the Rangers had offensively this year could point to the first baseman leaving a few more RBI on the table. Based on what we have seen from Lowe this year though, we do not want to run the risk of getting too picky here as he will clearly be more costly on draft, but as he will be playing his age 27-season, there is a lot to like. 

At the very least, the Rangers’ lineup should at least be a little improve which could mean that Lowe pushes the century park when it comes to RBI. 

The adjustments Lowe made directly resulted in increased home runs and an improved batting average (.286 xBA) and he is a player I like, within reason heading into 2023.



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