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Getting to Know… Jed Lowrie by David Laurila

A native of Salem, OR, Jed Lowrie was taken by the Red Sox as the 45

overall selection in the 2005 draft. A supplemental pick after the first round (compensation for losing Orlando Cabrera to free agency), the 21-year-old Lowrie played his college ball at Stanford and won the Pac-10’s Triple Crown as a sophomore in 2004. Drafted as a second baseman, the switch-hitting Lowrie played primarily at shortstop for the Lowell Spinners last season, hitting .328 with four home runs and 32 RBI in 53 games while leading the New York-Penn League with a .429 OBP. Lowrie is rated by Maple Street Press as the ninth-best prospect in the Red Sox organization. th

MSP: Going into the 2006 season, have you been told if you’ll be staying at shortstop or moving back to second base? JL: As far as I know, I’ll be a shortstop like I was in Lowell. I know they were impressed with my play there, and seemed happy with how I looked in Instructional League. I think they want to see if I can continue to play the position at a high level. I believe that I can.

JL: Probably not. By the end of the season I was pretty comfortable at short. When I first started playing there it was like I was a kid again, just having fun. It was exciting. But the lack of reps caught up to me a little, and I had to work hard to get better. Instructional League was helpful—I got more reps there, and we worked on slowing me down, making sure I’m not rushing plays. There’s always room for improvement, but I think I made a lot of progress. MSP: Have you been told at which level you’ll be playing this year, or how quickly you can expect to advance through the system? JL: I’m expecting it to be Wilmington [high A ball], but they haven’t told me for sure and a lot will depend on how I play in the spring. For me, expectations aren’t all that important. I know they see that I have potential, but as for a timetable… once I’m ready, they’ll evaluate and move me where I should be. MSP: Thinking about your offensive game, is it more difficult hitting against a so-so pitcher you know nothing about—or against a better pitcher you’ve faced before?


© 2006 Maple Street Press, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

MSP: In an interview last July, you said you were probably more comfortable at second base than at shortstop. Is that still the case?

Getting to Know… Jed Lowrie to the big leagues. But once I get established, I think I’m the type of player who could hit for a good average and provide that type of production. Of course, for a middle infielder, whether I’m at short or at second, defense is a top priority. If I can do both—provide solid offense and defense—I’m going to get an opportunity.

MSP: In July, you said that while you’re more consistent hitting from the left side, you have more power from the right side. Thinking about Fenway Park, do you have enough opposite field power left-handed to attack the Green Monster?

MSP: How would you describe your approach at the plate?

© 2006 Maple Street Press, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

JL: Definitely. At Stanford I hit 17 home runs as a sophomore, and five were left-handed to the opposite field. Overall, I think Fenway sets up perfectly for me. There’s a lot of room when I pull, and I can also reach the wall going the other way. I think the structure of the ballpark fits the way I hit very well. I’m not going to be a 40-home run guy, but I’ll get on base and drive in some runs.

Photo: David Laurila. Reprinted with permission.

JL: In a general sense, you’d rather know something about the guy you’re hitting against. In pro ball, everybody throws 90 mph—so nobody is easy to hit—but there are going to be pitchers who are tough regardless of how familiar you are with them. Still, I guess I’d rather face the guy I’ve seen.

MSP: Wade Boggs is said to have had as much power as anyone in batting practice, but once the games Red Sox prospect Jed Lowrie awaits a pitch while playing for the Lowell Spinners in 2005. started it was usually line-drives to the opposite field. What do you JL: It’s to be patient and go gap-to-gap. Patience is very think about a player taking that approach? important, and the last few years I’ve been able to draw JL: Pretty much everybody in pro ball has battingmore walks than times I’ve struck out. I believe in the practice power, but it hardly transfers to the game—at whole Ted Williams thing about needing to get a good least not for most guys. I think you need to do what you pitch to hit. You don’t want to hit pitcher’s pitches—you do best. Taking an up-the-middle approach and doing want to wait for one you can do something with. everything right is going to pay off. Baseball is a game MSP: While the Red Sox hitting philosophy stresses of averages. You don’t want to start trying to do things plate discipline, it also expects aggressiveness. Is that a you can’t do. If Adam Dunn suddenly decides to be a contradiction? singles hitter… he’s not being what he is. If you look at an established big leaguer, you can kind of pinpoint what JL: I know it sounds like one, but it really isn’t. Even you’re going to get from him. You know that Derek Jeter before I came to the organization, I’ve always thought is going to hit between .290 and .310 and hit 15 home that you need to do both. What you can’t be is tentative. runs. That’s what he does. You need to know yourself—what pitches you can MSP: Are those the type of numbers you feel you could put up someday? JL: I feel like that’s something I could project to, although I obviously have a long way to go to even get


handle—and go after them aggressively. You want to be selectively aggressive. MSP: How closely related are timing and pitch recognition?

Getting to Know… Jed Lowrie

MSP: Orv Franchuk, the Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator, said, “From the elbow down is where you hit. The rest of the body takes care of itself.” What are your thoughts on that? JL: I think that’s common knowledge in the game. You hit with your wrists, forearms and hands. There’s no question that’s the key. You want to be strong, and I’ve been working on that since the season ended. MSP: What have you been doing to get stronger? JL: One thing I’ve done is to spend a lot of time in the cage, working to improve my swing-strength. Swinging one-handed is a way to do that. Some guys lose sight of the fact that there’s a difference between training for baseball and body-building. I’m trying to stay focused on the baseball. MSP: Franchuk talks to the hitting coaches at each level on a daily basis during the season. When he spoke with Alan Mauthe, your hitting coach in Lowell last year, what do you think they were saying? JL: Boy… that’s a pretty good question. Hopefully they looked at me as a good hitter—a guy with good potential and room to grow. I know that I did a lot of extra work

with Orv when he was in town. The team’s policy is to not hit by yourself, and he was always more than willing to work with me. When I was at Instructional League after the season, Orv said to just keep doing what I’ve been doing. MSP: Looking back at last season, what were some of the memorable moments—not from a team standpoint, but personal accomplishments? JL: Playing in the All-Star Game in Brooklyn, with Luis Soto and Ryan Phillips, was big. Having my parents there made it even more special. My first home run was another highlight, and it’s kind of a funny story. When I hit it, I knew I got it—I knew I really put a charge in it. I had my head down on my way to first—I didn’t want to be a guy watching his first home run—and the ball hit off the scoreboard. When I looked up, I saw it bouncing back onto the field, so I started running hard toward second, thinking maybe it had hit off the wall. When I got back to the dugout, Lou Frazier, our outfield and base-running coordinator, gave me a hard time about it. He said, “That was way out, and you didn’t even know?” MSP: Final question: What did you take from last season—your first in pro ball? JL: This past summer… man, I feel like I learned a lot. As a player, I feel like I need to grow, and I think I did that. And everyone I played with was a good guy, too. Just being around guys like Matt Mercurio and Dominic Ramos… but I almost shouldn’t even say any names, because I don’t want to leave anyone out. We had fun, and we were a good baseball team, too. I can’t wait to get back out there this year and do it again. MSP

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© 2006 Maple Street Press, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

JL: If you look at all of the great hitters, one thing they have in common is good eyesight. What you have is a sequence of recognition followed by aggressively throwing your hands at the ball. And you need to stay in sync when you’re doing that. If you’re swinging at every pitch like it’s a fastball, you’re in trouble. I guess what I’m saying is that first you need to see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand—then you use your hands.

Getting to Know… Jed Lowrie  

2006 interview with Red Sox player Jed Lowrie. By David Laurila

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