BALTIMORE -- The Rangers have only gone deep 13 times this month -- five less than the White Sox for an MLB-low. However, Nathaniel Lowe has started to find his footing when hitting for power. For the second time in his career, Lowe smacked homers on back-to-back nights.
His ninth-inning homer came on a 2-1, 85.3 mph changeup. While he’s pleased with the incremental progress he’s made over the season, Lowe still has areas he wants to improve.
“I would like to be better with higher velocity,” Lowe said. “It goes back to preparation. I need to get on the fastball and maybe make a little more of a jump to get there, instead of just hoping that a fastball shows up. And then when I see it, I'm behind it. This offseason is going to be good for assessing where I was short this year, and where I need to get better going forward.”
Just four of Lowe’s 17 home runs this season have come on high-velocity pitches. He and Adolis García lead the team with 13 home runs on pitches with a velocity slower than 90 mph.
Some guys are overly aggressive and need to learn how to dial it back. For Lowe, it is the opposite. The first baseman has erred on the passive side at the plate, wanting to focus on being more assertive during each at-bat during the offseason.
“I feel like my eye and my strike-zone discipline has been pretty good for as long as I can remember playing,” Lowe said. “So getting out of that comfort zone and being more aggressive responsibly is definitely something that I need to work on.”
He’ll watch video and work on his swing, among other things, during the offseason to improve. However, the fix is simple: Is he making hard contact with the ball?
Lowe ranks in the 85th percentile of average exit velocity, according to Statcast tracking. Entering Sunday, he sits at 91.3 mph average exit velocity -- tied with the 2019 season for the highest in his career. It’s more than a 3-mph uptick from last season, proving that he is maturing at the plate as he gets deeper into his career.
The Down East Wood Ducks defeated the Charleston RiverDogs to force a decisive Game 5 on Sunday in the Low-A East Championship Series. On Saturday, 20-year-old shortstop Keyber Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, to spark a 9-3 comeback win. The final game of the Series is being played in Charleston, S.C.
The Wood Ducks own the best road record in Low-A East this season entering the Championship series, going 38-22 (.633 win percentage).
The Rangers’ Low-A affiliate has won just one postseason title when they were declared Carolina League co-champions with the Lynchburg Hillcats in 2017. The Carolina League was a Class A Advanced baseball league before a restructure prior to the 2021 season.