Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Adam Loewen
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Loewen, as many are aware, is another of those pitcher-turned-outfielder success stories - which, in roto terms, probably won't turn out to be very successful. Thinking Rick Ankiel? Loewen, 27, is several years younger and, at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, is a more imposing athlete that the St. Louis Cardinals' former hurler. But is he a better hitter than Ankiel?
In his eight seasons in the minors - remember, more than half of it spent as a promising southpaw who gave up toeing the rubber because of elbow problems - Loewen compiled a .267/.358/.435 slash line in 1,513 plate appearances. Once he became an outfielder exclusively, he certainly displayed some promise, just as Ankiel had after his conversion. This season, at Triple-A Las Vegas, Loewen batted .306 with 17 home runs, 85 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.
That line may well excite fantasy baseball players who've observed the left-hander's sudden growth in PT and 5-for-14 start, which includes a round-tripper and three ribbies. The caveat: Loewen's performance for the 51s came in, of course, the Pacific Coast League, where dingers grow on trees. His showings at the lower levels were significantly inferior (.236/.340/.355 at high Class A Dunedin, .246/.351/.412 at Double-A New Hampshire) to those at Class AAA. That is in spite of the fact that his peripherals are quite similar at each of those levels. And, Loewen wasn't an efficient base-stealer in those three seasons (33 thefts in 48 attempts).
In fairness to Loewen, he hadn't been a full-time position player for years before 2009. The numbers, particularly in the strikeout rate area, suggest that there is some distinct improvement going on here. He has yet to draw a walk in the bigs, but he was consistently in double-digit percentages for frequency in that department while in the minors. Statistically, he seems to stand a better chance than Ankiel did. How much better? TBD. There'll be swoons in the course of a full season, undoubtedly. In very deep leagues, Loewen can help you in the final couple of weeks of the campaign, but he's a high-risk acquisition.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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