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Monday, April 23, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: JED LOWRIE 2B/SS OAKLAND A'S

Sometime an old dog can learn some new trick.  Or in the case of Oakland A's infielder Jed Lowrie, those tricks all of a sudden means challenging for the batting title and venturing to a possible first 20-home run season despite reaching his mid-30's at the age of 34.  Without a doubt, the oft-injured Lowrie has been phenomenal and downright shocking with his tremendous production to begin the year and the fact he went undrafted in a high number of leagues make his addition to his current fantasy baseball owners' rosters even more valuable.  Before we go further, let's take a closer look at those numbers which sit at the following going into Monday's games:

.351
6 HR
23 RBI
12 R
0 SB

The batting average, RBI, and home runs all stand out here and on those fronts, Lowrie was as good as any non-speed hitter in fantasy baseball for the first month of the season.  Now we have to determine if it is sustainable going forward and that is where things get tricky.  For starter's a big start from an aging veteran is not an overly shocking thing because it is sort of a trend I have highlighted on here in the past.  These types of older and experienced hitters tend to do their best work in April and May given their breadth of knowledge of opposing pitchers and their understanding of how to deal with sometimes tough early weather.  That is why April tends to see boring veteran guys like Lowrie pacing the offensive field.  As the season moves along, bumps and bruises begin to add up and the production goes the other direction.  This is an especially important deal with Lowrie due to the fact his entire career has been filled with injury woes.  Counting on Lowrie to stay healthy is believing in the Tooth Fairy and so already you likely are looking at diminishing returns there.

Moving into the numbers, there are some other red flags with Lowrie, starting with his .397 BABIP which in no way is sustainable.  Lowrie is just a .263 hitter for his career and only twice in his previous 10 seasons in the game has he batted over .280.  So count on a major dip in the average department from Lowrie and it should begin sliding real soon.  Finally, the power is also way up on a per game basis and Lowrie is still waiting for his first 20-home run campaign.  While he is on the pace now and could get there considering the state of the game today offensively, it is no slam dunk by any means.

So when you put it all together, Jed Lowrie is a guy you simply ride it out until the injuries hit or the inevitable slide begins. There is no trade market to speak of for Lowrie in most fantasy baseball leagues so the best strategy to choose is go with the guy until the train goes off the tracks moving forward into the season.

Trend Or Mirage:  Mirage 

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