You’d never guess who sits atop the batting average leaderboards in MLB as of the writing of this piece. The Guardians’ Owen Miller, the Royals’ Andrew Benintendi and… the Texas Rangers‘ Nathaniel Lowe?
That’s right, the first baseman who was once trade fodder in hypothetical deals for Matt Olson during the off-season is absolutely raking to begin the 2022 season. And it’s going relatively unnoticed amidst other things like the Texas Rangers struggling as a team to begin the year. But it shouldn’t.
Going into Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros, Lowe sports a .381 batting average, good for third in all of baseball. That to go along with a .910 OPS.
Nathaniel Lowe’s hot start in 2022 for the Texas Rangers is going relatively unnoticed
It’s a small sample size, sure, but Lowe is making consistent contact with the bat so far in 2022. These high numbers aren’t going to last, they’re simply unsustainable. His whiffs are down and his walks are up, a testament to improved plate discipline, though he needs no improvement really after leading the team in walks last season.
Lowe’s contact numbers early on are actually quite impressive, since he’s regarded more for his power swing. The natural power has always been there, but he’s yet to really tap into it as a big leaguer. He hit a career-high 18 last season. With his profile, 20+ bombs should not be an unrealistic goal to attain.
If the Texas Rangers’ first baseman can keep up a level of production even remotely close to what he’s doing now, that can be a difference-maker in a lineup that can go from being three or four deep to at least five or six deep. First base has premium talent in the game, with Olson, Freddie Freeman, Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Paul Goldschmidt and others. How great would it be for the Rangers to have someone elite at the position?
With Nathaniel Lowe’s under-the-radar breakout, Texas might be on their way to having just that, if not at least something close to it.