When the A’s traded for Jed Lowrie in February, they didn’t have an obvious position for him.
They had just acquired Hiroyuki Nakajima to play shortstop, Scott Sizemore was supposed to man second base and Josh Donaldson was expected to play third base. The A’s even seemed to have pretty good depth for the utility spots with Jemile Weeks, Adam Rosales, Eric Sogard and Andy Parrino all fighting for spots on the 25-man roster.
Fast forward to the present day and it appears that Billy Beane could see what the injury gods had in store for the A’s future.
First, Nakajima suffered a hamstring injury at the end of March that landed him on the DL. That was followed up with Rosales heading to the DL with an intercostal strain. Then on Tuesday, Sizemore re-tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Nakajima is making progress with his rehab but hasn’t yet started his minor league rehab assignment.
The A’s enviable depth they had before the trade is all but gone and now there are new questions to be answered about who can man second base. Fortunately for the A’s, Lowrie has more than made up for the guys that are missing with his hot start and made the second base question much less pressing.
After the first nine games, Lowrie leads the A’s in batting average and on-base percentage, and is second in slugging. He is off to a red-hot start, hitting a ridiculous 42% of his balls in play for line drives. That’s a large part of the reason why he already has 14 hits, seven going for extra bases.
He isn’t going to hit .412/.500/.794 the whole season, but his offense cratering isn’t likely as well. With Lowrie the ability to hit has never been the problem, rather what has held him back and what made him available to the A’s was his injury history.
With the A’s preseason depth they were able to take the gamble on Lowrie’s injury-plagued past to add a talented player and more depth to an already deep roster. With the injury bug ravaging the other middle infielders, the A’s have cashed in on that added depth without missing a beat offensivly.
If, or perhaps when the injury bug comes after Lowrie, the other middle infielders should be healthy enough to fill in. The insurance policy Lowrie provides the A’s has already paid off early in the season; if he provides a full season of health it will be icing on the cake.