Name: Joshua Lowe
Born: Chesapeake, Virginia
Age: 18 (2/2/1998)
Height/Weight: 6'4"/190 lbs
School: Pope High School (Marietta, Georgia)
Baseball is a hyper-specialized sport, in that a player must have a handful of very developed skills in order to stand out at his position. Josh Lowe has so much innate baseball skill and talent that he has been able to stand out and thrive not only as a hitter, but also as a pitcher. One of the best pure athletes in this year's draft class, Lowe has scouts' jaws dropping when he is at the plate, and dreaming of his potential when he is on the mound closing games for the Pope High School Greyhounds.
Lowe excels as both a hitter and a pitcher, in part because he comes from a baseball family—one that "eat[s], breathe[s], and sleep[s] baseball." His father, David Lowe, pitched for Satellite Beach High School in Florida. While David never actually played professionally and instead attended the Naval Academy to become a test pilot, he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fifth round of the 1986 draft. Josh's brother, Nathaniel, is currently a first baseman at Mississippi State University and is also due to be drafted this year, though not as highly as his younger brother. "We are always pushing each other to get better," Josh said on his relationship with his brother. "When we were younger, he was always the better hitter. I always took some pointers from him and used them as much as I could."
Following in the footsteps of their father, who played linebacker at Vanderbilt, both Lowe siblings played both football and baseball in high school. Unlike their father, both have the desire to play baseball professionally, and as such, gave up football to dedicate all of their time to baseball. The extra dedication clearly paid off: Josh was named the 2015-2016 Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year and is a finalist to be named for the national award, where he would join an elite alumni association that includes Larry Jones, Derek Jeter, Derek Lee, Roy Halladay, John Lester, and David Price.
For what it's worth, Lowe prefers playing on the field as opposed to being on the mound. "You can make more of an impact playing third base instead of being a pitcher," he said. "Everyday you can step in the box and can change the game with one swing or make plays defensively. From an impact standpoint, playing third base is a lot more fun," Lowe continued. "I just like being on the field everyday. It comes more naturally. I've been there a lot—pretty much my whole baseball career."
Lowe has a commitment to Florida State University, an institution he dreamed of attending ever since he was a kid.
What The Scouts Think
Lowe's abilities to hit and pitch have had a synergy effect on each other, resulting in an advanced approach at the plate based on his knowledge of the strike zone, and an advanced approach on the mound based on his knowledge of the plate. That is to say, his knowledge and ability on each side of the field have helped improve his game on the other side.
At the plate, Lowe bats left-handed, a quirk he learned from emulating his older brother. He stands tall and spreads his legs evenly, helping him to balance. He has quick hands, leading to a short bat path. When he swings, Lowe uses a leg kick as a timing mechanism but keeps his body back and opens his hips, losing torque. His swing gets long at times, leading to swings and misses. When he does connect, Lowe has shown plus power to all fields.
Defensively, Lowe is a bit of a mixed bag. He has some tools that are necessary to play the hot corner, such as a strong arm, but his glovework and footwork are not the best. More time and repetitions at third base would strengthen those skills. However, in addition to his ability to hit and pitch, Lowe is a tremendous athlete, and his ultimate position might even be in the outfield. According to his coach, "He's a 6.5 (seconds), 60-yard guy, and those don't come around often. He tracks balls well...glides to the ball and has a cannon for an arm."
On the mound, Lowe throws right-handed, which is his natural handedness. He throws from a high three-quarters arm angle, using a high leg kick to add deception to his delivery. His motions are smooth and do not present any red flags for injury, although the righty's momentum does not always leave him in a good fielding position.
Lowe throws a fastball that sits in the low-90s but reaches the mid-90s, with good run and sink. He complements his fastball with a slider and a changeup, both of which flash being plus pitches. In order to maximize each, Lowe needs to become more consistent with the break of his slider and needs to get more fade on his changeup.