Houston Astros 2015 Season Recap: Jed Lowrie
30 Players in 30 Days: Jed Lowrie
Jed Lowrie first joined the Houston Astros on December 14, 2011, from the Boston Red Sox along with Kyle Weiland in exchange for reliever Mark Melancon. Lowrie spent the 2012 season with the Astros before he and Fernando Rodriguez were traded to the Oakland Athletics for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock and Max Stassi.
Lowrie spent a full two seasons with the Athletics before he was granted free agency and the switch-hitting shortstop returned to the Astros in December 2014 on a three-year, $23 million deal. Lowrie figured to be the Astros starting shortstop for the immediate future – at least until Carlos Correa arrived.
As the Astros Opening Day shortstop, Lowrie was fitted into the bottom of the line-up but moved up quickly because of his production in April. Through the team’s first 17 games, Lowrie hit .281/.414/.491 and three home runs.
On April 27, Lowrie collected two more hits in three at-bats against the San Diego Padres. In the eighth inning of that game, he drew a walk and later scored on a Colby Rasmus single, but his knee stuck in the dirt near home plate causing him to land on his thumb. An MRI later revealed a torn ligament that would require surgery and force him out for three months.
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Over the month of May, Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar split time filling in for Lowrie. It’s been well documented at this point that super prospect Carlos Correa made his MLB debut on June 8. Correa immediately took over the starting shortstop job, and it was clear after a week at the position that it would be a challenge to move him from that spot when Lowrie returned.
In the time between Correa’s debut and Lowrie’s return to the line-up on July 30, Correa hit .300/.323/.567 with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Needless to say, the Astros had to find another way to fit Lowrie into the lineup, so they bumped a struggling Chris Carter from the line-up, moved Luis Valbuena to first base and gave Lowrie the starting job at third base.
Lowrie’s return was unceremonious as he reached base once on a walk in four plate appearances, but he was able to string together a five-game hitting streak over the first week of August. He couldn’t get into much of a rhythm after that, though, and finished August with only two hits in the last nine games of the month to bring his average down to .226, but he still had a .329 OBP.
The turn of the calendar was kind again to Lowrie as he began September on a six-game hitting streak, including a go-ahead grand slam in the 7th inning on Sept. 6 against the Minnesota Twins. A week and a half later Lowrie had his most memorable at-bat of the 2015 season against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Astros were down 0-3 in the 9th inning with two outs against Angels’ closer Huston Street when Preston Tucker connected on a solo home run. George Springer followed with a triple and scored on a Jose Altuve single to cut the deficit to one. Correa then reached on a sharp ground ball that got stuck in the webbing of Angels’ second baseman Taylor Featherston‘s glove. Lowrie was called upon to pinch-hit for Evan Gattis and, on a 2-1 count, connected on a pitch that just cleared the outstretched arm of right fielder Kole Calhoun for a three-run home run that gave the Astros a 5-3 lead and eventual win.
Those hits were huge, but Lowrie looked lost in his last 15 games at the plate, gaining only eight hits in 47 at-bats with one extra-base hit to bring his season average down to .222 with a .312 OBP. Defensively, he only made three errors at third base in 47 games – impressive for a guy that had not played the position in almost four years.
Lowrie did not get a single start in the postseason for the Astros but was called upon as a pinch-hitter in four games with no success.
More Houston Astros Season Recaps:
- Vince Velasquez
- Tony Sipp
- Jonathan Villar
- Preston Tucker
- Mike Fiers
- Hank Conger
- Chad Qualls
- Jon Singleton
- Joe Thatcher
- Marwin Gonzalez
- Josh Fields
- Jake Marisnick
- Pat Neshek
What to expect in 2016
Jed Lowrie is out of a starting job as a shortstop as a Houston Astro unless Correa gets hurt. The Astros may look to move Lowrie and his contract for a true corner infielder or pitcher.
The Astros have a few corner infield options in their own system; and the closest to MLB-ready being Matt Duffy and they’ll likely want to see what he can offer to the team. Lowrie was cooperative playing third base last season, but you have to figure that he feels more comfortable at this point in his career playing shortstop.
Next: A look at why Colby Rasmus accepted the Astros' Qualifying Offer
Lowrie was great this season against left-handed pitching: .267/.375/.533 compared to .206/.288/.353 from the other side so if he’s still with the team next season he will likely fall into a platoon role with Luis Valbuena.