The Astros announced earlier today that after a few minor league rehab assignments in AAA, Oklahoma City, Jed Lowrie will make his debut with the Astros tomorrow, April 13 as the Astros kick off a three game set in Miami against the Marlins. Lowrie, as you all know by now, was acquired from the Boston Red Sox along with SP, Kyle Weiland in Jeff Luhnow’s first trade as Astros GM for RP/Closer, Mark Melancon. Lowrie was injured in one of the last few Spring Training games and began the season on the DL.
Jed Lowrie plays a position (shortstop) that has been one of the weakest from an offensive standpoint for the past two decades for the hometown nine. Adam Everett manned the position for seven years (2001 – 2007) and played defense better than most others in the game. One of the clubs top prospects, Jonathan Villar, is at AA Corpus Christi and for all intents and purposes, is the shortstop of the future. Before he can be considered for a promotion to the big leagues, he will need to raise his batting average and lower his strikeout rate. Lowrie on the other hand, played very well in his years as a member of the Red Sox minor league system but has been bit by the injury bug over and over again since making it to the big leagues. Lowrie’s success at the big league level could pay huge dividends to the future of the Astros. Should he play well and stay injury free, the Astros will have a good problem on their hands.
A few weeks ago, MLB.com’s Harold Reynolds, was on local sports radio and said that if healthy, Lowrie has the potential to mash twenty home runs a year. He is definitely capable of that, but he has to stay healthy in order to do so. I’m on record as being a HUGE fan of Jonathan Villar and believe he will be our Opening Day shortstop in 2014. He has all the tools you want in a shortstop plus he hits for power. He still needs some seasoning in the minors and is still young enough to work out the kinks. Meanwhile, over at the hot corner, the Astros really do not have any viable options at the position long term should Chris Johnson not work out and have a repeat of last season. Lowrie could be moved to third base when Villar is ready to be promoted. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but, if healthy, there’s no reason to think Lowrie won’t be successful as he has a proven track record. That, coupled with the upside of Villar, and you have two good players for one position long term. I’d hate to trade away a productive player when there’s a spot at third base that could definitely be available. Lowrie’s future as a member of the Houston Astros begins tomorrow. Let’s hope its a good one.