Search For Missing Velocity Comes Up Empty
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The Cleveland Indians are like most other teams in baseball in that they are always on the lookout for pitchers that can add depth to their system.
They acquired a gem in Esmil Rogers in a trade with the Colorado Rockies in 2012.
They signed Matt Capps in 2013 and 2014 but he was never able to overcome his cranky shoulder.
Over the winter, they tried to sign Mark Lowe but he instead chose to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays.
“We took a look at every team, every situation before we signed, and this was the best fit and Cleveland was another one,” Lowe said. “Those were the two teams that pushed the hardest for me.”
He went to spring training with the Rays, where he was very effective, working 10.1 innings and allowing only an earned run while striking out 12, walking just one batter. But his work in the Grapefruit Leagues was not enough to secure a spot on the Rays 25-man roster and he was released.
The Indians renewed their interest, signing him to a minor-league deal hoping he’d find the zip on his fastball that led him to find success with the Mariners and Rangers before falling on hard times due to mechanical issues in 2012.
“In 2011, I averaged 96 mph on my fastball,” Lowe said. “In 2012, I went down to 93. And it was all mechanical. I just couldn’t get out of it. I feel like that drill just triggered something. For some reason I couldn’t throw away. I couldn’t get it off me. For two years, I struggled with it.”
He reported to the Indians Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, where he pitched well enough to earn two promotions to the Indians; the first came in June after 16 appearances with the Clippers (3.86 ERA [7ER/16.1IP]), and the second came in July after four appearances in Columbus (2.08 ERA [1ER/4.1IP]).
In seven appearances with the Indians, Lowe had minimal success, posting a record of 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA (3ER/7IP) while striking out six and issuing two non-intentional walks. Remarkably, he issued four intentional walks in his seven innings of work.
Overall with the Clippers, he appeared in 41 games posting a record of 4-3 with a 5.62 ERA (26 ER/41.2IP) striking out 47 and issuing 15 non-intentional walks.
According to Fangraphs.com, Lowe’s fastball in his seven appearances with the Indians averaged 92.2 mph. He’ll spend the offseason trying to find another team willing to give him an opportunity to find that missing velocity.
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