Up next on the Baltimore Battery Prospect Profiles Countdown is left-handed pitcher and the No. 10 overall prospect in the Orioles organization, Zac Lowther. The 23-year-old was drafted by the Orioles in the second round (74th overall) of the 2017 draft out of Xavier.
During his time at Xavier, Lowther was dominant, leading the Big East in strikeouts as a sophomore in 2016 and setting a school record for strikeouts as a junior with 123. Lowther was named to the All-Big East Team as a junior, after finishing fourth in the NCAA in strikeout rate with a 13.3 rate.
After being drafted by the Orioles in 2017, Lowther reported to Aberdeen and picked up right where he left off in college. During his time with the IronBirds, Lowther struck out 75 in only 54.1 innings pitched and posted a 1.66 ERA.
Lowther spent 2018 between Single-A teams Delmarva and Frederick. He started 22 games between the two clubs, striking out 151 batters in 123.2 innings with a 2.18 ERA, earning him a share of the Orioles’ Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.
After his big season in Single-A, the Orioles promoted Lowther to Double-A Bowie for the entirety of the 2019 season. A step up in competition did little to slow down Lowther’s success, as he started 26 games posting a 2.55 ERA, while striking out 154 in 148 innings, earning him mid-year and end-of-year All-Star honors.
Lowther obviously has a penchant for missing bats, and his ability to do so is a product of his fastball. Lowther is not a flame thrower, however, with a fastball that sits between 87-91 mph. What his fastball does possess, however, is a high spin rate and late life that rides high into hitters. Lowther also has an above-average curveball and a changeup that sits in the low 80’s.
Lowther stands 6’2 and weighs in at 235 lbs. with broad shoulders that give him a durable, mature look, even at a young age. Lowther’s physical attributes have allowed him to already show that he can handle a heavy workload. A smart pitcher that mixes up his pitches well, Lowther can pitch around batters or attack, when necessary.
A promotion to Triple-A Norfolk seems to be in the cards for Lowther in 2020, with the possibility of a call-up at some point in the year if he continues to show success.
As he moves up in competition, Lowther will need to continue to develop his secondary pitches, something he began at Bowie last year, resulting in an increased walk rate. At this point in his career, Lowther projects as a backend starter, with the floor of a swingman/long reliever.
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