Astros in Retrospect: Should Jed Lowrie Remain the 3rd Hitter?


(Update: Astros win 5-1, Lowrie goes 1-4 batting third.)

In the middle of spring training, it was pretty obvious that Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted a left-handed hitter hitting third in the lineup. Hinch likes the concept of George Springer hitting second, so they wanted a left-handed hitter in between the Astros right-handed power hitters. Jason Castro days of hitting third are probably over unless he bounces back in 2015. The spot is probably being reserved for Jon Singleton, when he is ready to assume this role. Using simple elimination that leaves two left-handed hitters.

In the first three games of the season, Luis Valbuena has anchored the third spot in the order. However, with a day off in the cards for Valbuena, the Astros play their Jed Lowrie card. Valbuena and several other Astros have struggled with the bat so far this year, so why not shift things up? But am I making too much out of a daily changes in Astros lineup, let’s see what A.J. Hinch thinks?

Hinch said, “I’m trying to find the right balance and rhythm.” Does this quote mean that Valbuena will be back hitting third in tomorrow’s game? I’m going to argue that they should leave Lowrie hitting third and let me give you some reasons why he is probably the better fit there.

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At the beginning of the season, Jed Lowrie has been one of the players able to make contact with the ball. After his home run in the first inning of Friday’s afternoon game, Lowrie is hitting .364 with two homers and only two strikeouts. While Luis Valbuena has caught the strikeout bug that is spreading throughout the locker room, maybe the pressure of hitting third got in his head.

As I am watching the game, the Astros look more comfortable at the plate and on the field. Maybe there was too much self-applied pressure on some of the new hitters to produce in front of the home crowd. Jed Lowrie is one of the veterans on this team right now, so removing Valbuena from the third slot might awaken his bat. Lowrie can handle the pressure.

Lowrie is also a switch hitter, and hit his two home runs as a righthanded hitter in the past two games. With Lowrie being a switch hitter, it would negate the opposing team from bringing in a left-handed pitcher to face him.

Looking at Jed Lowrie’s stats from 2013 as the third hitter in the lineup, it shows some encouraging numbers. Batting third, Lowrie had a slash line of .269/ .325/ .409/ .733 while hitting seven homers and driving in 39 runs. During his 2014 season in which he struggled, those numbers went down. However, he looks to be more comfortable as a hitter in 2015.

What are your thoughts if Jed Lowrie remains the third hitter?

Next: Need 5 Reasons to Hate the Rangers, here they are.

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