Lowery is excited for his first full season
Everything is new for all of the Indians’ minor league rookies participating in spring training for the first time this year. They are all overflowing with excitement as many of them will embark on their first full season as a professional baseball player, and there is also a lot of anxiety in the air as players wonder which affiliate they will be assigned to at the start of the season.
One player in the Indians’ organization that cannot wait to get things rolling is catcher Jake Lowery.
Lowery, 21, was selected in the 4th round of the draft last year out of James Madison University. He signed quickly and was able to play in 69 games last season for short season Single-A Mahoning Valley where he hit .245 with 6 HR, 43 RBI and .792 OPS. He also had a nice 54-to-56 walk to strikeout rate.
“I had a good time [at Mahoning Valley last year],” Lowery said. “I am glad I got my feet wet and that I signed early to get everything going so I was introduced to the system and the pro way to go about things.”
Lowery more than settled in and got his feet wet last year at the professional ranks. If not for the fact that he had to travel to the Midwestern portion of the country to receive the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher, he may have played in every game for Mahoning Valley last season. Even so, he racked up a lot of at bats and impressed with his patience and power at the plate as he 1st in the NY-Penn League doubles (23) and 1st in walks (54). In total, 30 of his 62 hits went for extra bases.
Lowery hopes that his strong season last year and a good spring training to date will be enough to land him on a full season roster at Low-A Lake County or High-A Carolina. Barring an injury, he will probably open the season in Carolina, though could open at Lake County if the Indians want him to first establish himself this season.
“I am having a good time and getting a lot of good instruction [so far in spring training],” Lowery said. “Getting out here early was definitely a huge plus for me to start throwing and get used to seeing everyone. Early camp allows for most of the pitchers and catchers that report to get some early work in either with throwing or hitting.”
With spring training in full swing with minor league spring games occurring almost on a daily basis, Lowery is looking to show some consistency and at the same time work on shoring up his defense behind the plate.
“I worked on my stride in Instructs to get my foot down in time and trying to drive the ball everywhere like I usually do,” Lowery said. “With the catching it is all about getting better every day and catching as many people as I can and get used to catching to so many different guys. I just want to work on my catching as a whole. Mainly blocking as I worked on that a lot in Instructs and it has translated here. You just have to take some ownership and take it upon yourself to improve. I am just trying to play the game the right way and have fun.”
There is a lot of potential in Lowery’s powerful and disciplined bat, something that he may or may not realize. He is ready to show what he can do this season and has 2011 and the draft in his rearview mirror for good.
“I had a great year last year and everything like that, but I am glad it is over with and I am here in the system and I am not going through that process again,” Lowery said. “Last year at Mahoning Valley it was a short season and really quick. For a full season I don’t have to go from college to pro ball and make the adjustment, I already have my routine down and I will have my car so it will be easier to get from place to place. I just want to get my routine going and have a full season wherever I am and enjoy the ride itself.”
Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his new book the 2012 Cleveland Indians Prospect Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.
Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.