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2017 #16 Prospect Zac Lowther - LHP


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By: Luke Siler

 

Zac Lowther - LHP

Height: 6’ 2”  Weight: 235
Bats: L
Throws: L
Age: 21
2017 Team: Aberdeen Ironbirds


Most Likely Major League Role: 4-5th starter/swing man, setup guy

Ceiling: 5-#3-#4 starter/high end late inning reliever
Floor: 2-Emergency short term player/AAAA

Background: Lowther was drafted in the supplemental 2nd round (74th overall) out of Xavier University.  He struck out 13.3/9 his junior year there. He signed for slot value and was assigned to the short season Aberdeen Ironbirds. He made 12 appearances (11 starts) and dominated the league, leading the league in K% of all pitchers with 40+ IP.

 

2017 stats (Aberdeen Ironbirds (A-short season))

AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS: .182/.232/.255/.487

ERA: 1.66

IP: 54.1

H: 35 (5.8/9)

HRA: 1 (0.2/9)

BB: 11 (1.8/9)

SO: 75 (12.4/9)

RHB Slash: .166/.218/.248/.466

LHB Slash:  .234/.275/.277/.551

GO/AO: 1.15

 

Scouting report (now and future)

Fastball: 45/50

Curveball: 50/55

Changeup: 45/50

Command/Control: 60/65

 

What we know: 

He was one of the best pitchers in the NY/Penn league by almost any metric.  Lowther is a big-bodied lefty, not projectable in the typical sense but may benefit from pro conditioning.  He has a clean ¾ delivery and generates late tailing action on his fastball.  The fastball only sits in the upper 80s, touching the low 90s, but generates whiffs at this level due to command and movement.  He has a tight, late-breaking 11-5 curveball, which is his best pitch.  He commands it very well and uses it in any count.  He can throw a changeup as well, it’s the weakest pitch currently as it has similar movement to the fastball and lacks a huge velocity gap.  He commands it well though.

What we don't know: How will the fastball play at higher levels? Will the changeup develop into a weapon?  Can he add a little velocity?

What he needs to improve: It looks like he has room to get stronger and improve fitness, so maybe there is a slight boost in velocity there.  He needs to develop a third pitch that can get advanced hitters out, whether the changeup or something else.  He’s going to be a guy who’ll need to pitch backwards and that’ll be tough without a viable third pitch.

Summary: It's really impressive the way Lowther was able to command all 3 pitches.  If he can continue to do that, he’s got a chance to be one of those few guys who make it without average velocity.  He should probably start 2018 in Frederick which will be a great test for him.  He’s got a great feel for pitching and is generally just a fun guy to watch pitch.  

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It would be interesting to see Wells and Lowther in the same rotation.   Obviously there are significant differences between them, but basically you’ve got two lower-velocity lefties who have really outstanding command.     As the manager, you certainly wouldn’t want them throwing back-to-back. The beginning of the year would be amusing with Harvey sandwiched between them.   

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15 minutes ago, Frobby said:

It would be interesting to see Wells and Lowther in the same rotation.   Obviously there are significant differences between them, but basically you’ve got two lower-velocity lefties who have really outstanding command.     As the manager, you certainly wouldn’t want them throwing back-to-back. The beginning of the year would be amusing with Harvey sandwiched between them.   

As similar as they are with both being LHP without big fastballs who throw strikes, they aren't as similar as you'd think.  

Lowther is less deceptive in his windup, but has more life on his fastball.  He throws a sharp late breaking curve while Wells throws a loopy type you generally see from LH relief specialists.  Wells has a better changeup, it's identical to his fastball but has a great velocity gap.  Lowther's can be a bit firm.  Lowther is going to miss more bats than Wells, but Wells should generate more weak contact.  Wells is higher ranked because he's shown success against better competition and because he's younger and thus has a little better chance to see an uptick in stuff.

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