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Draft | Prospect Scouting Reports | 3/18/2016

2016 MLB Draft Pack: March 18

David Rawnsley         Jheremy Brown         Andrew Krause         Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

Once a week leading up to the 2016 MLB Draft Perfect Game will provide detailed scouting reports, and video (when available) on 10 of the top draft-eligible prospects. The first report each week will be available for free, the rest can be viewed with a PG Insider subscription. To learn more about Perfect Game's subscription packages and to sign up today please visit this link.

Prospects covered this week: Josh Lowe, Matt Manning, A.J. Puk, Nick Senzel, Mike Shawaryn, Alex Speas, Bryan Reynolds, Blake Rutherford, Taylor Trammell, Robert Tyler.

Josh Lowe – 3B

Height/Weight: 6-4/190
Bats/Throws: L/R
Birthdate: Feb. 2, 1998
High School: Pope
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
Travel Team: East Cobb Yankees
Commitment: Florida State
Projected Draft Round: 1

The first time this scout saw Josh Lowe for an extended period was at the PG Underclass All-American Games in August of 2014. He was listed as a primary shortstop, secondary outfielder and tertiary pitcher. The report filed after that event clearly summarized what my thoughts were about his future position.

Long and lean athletic build, very projectable physically. Listed as a primary shortstop, grades out much better as a pitching prospect. Arm works extremely well on the mound, high three-quarters arm slot with loose easy extension in front, low effort release, gets downhill with all pitches, still young in repeating mechanics but that is understandable. Upper-80s fastball, topped out at 89 mph, mostly straight with good plane and will pitch to both sides of the plate. Primary fastball pitcher, flashed quality with both his changeup and his slider but still developing. High ceiling pitching talent. Showed his arm strength at shortstop on defense, has good hands and some actions in the middle infield. Lefthanded hitter, keeps his hands tight to his body and looks to pull, low hand start and works uphill to the ball, shows occasional leverage at contact.

Lowe has spent a significant amount of his on-field time since then doing his best to convince not only this scout but the entire scouting community that despite his present 91-94 mph fastball and sharp breaking slider and the overall athleticism he brings to the mound that he is really a better infield prospect.  He has even said on the record that his strong preference is to play in the field rather than be a primary pitcher.

Two things have gone a long way to push the scouting needle to the position player side. First, and most importantly, Lowe has really hit well, especially in showing his plus raw power, at major events, especially the Perfect Game All-American Classic and the East Coast Professional Showcase last August. His lefthanded swing is highly leveraged and smooth and the lift, especially to the middle of the field, comes easily. Lowe hit some balls in both games and batting practice in front of big crowds of scouts that simply carried well beyond what they looked like they should off the barrel. Elite level high school pitching did not bother his timing or his ability to square up the ball.

The second aspect of Lowe's game that has really been highlighted is just how good an athlete he is. Lowe ran a 6.57 60-yard dash at the PG National Showcase last June, an exceptional time for an athlete his size. While his actions defensively at third base can get long at times, he's smooth and balanced and his arm strength obviously plays well on the left side of the infield. While he played primarily third base on the summer and fall circuit, so did the similarly sized Corey Seager, and it is conceivable that Lowe could get a shot at shortstop either initially in professional ball or at Florida State as a collegian. 

Interestingly, two very similar prospects have come out of the East Cobb program in the last decade. Ethan Martin was a primary third baseman until his senior season, when a mid-90s fastball convinced the Dodgers to pick him with the 15th overall pick in 2008 as a righthanded pitcher. Kaleb Cowart, the Angels first round pick (18th overall) in 2010, was a switch-hitting third baseman who could throw 95 mph off the mound and 100 mph from the outfield in high school but stuck to being a position player.

Even more interestingly, Cowart checked in at No. 2 in the PG Class Rankings prior to the draft, while Martin was listed at No. 5. Lowe currently holds the No. 4 spot in the 2016 rankings. (DR)

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