Got to see Loewen several times in the PCL this year and I totally agree- great story. This was a good year for position switchers overall, with Brian Bogusevic playing in the PCL and then getting called up by the Astros.
Loewen’s teammate Jason Lane made a few very good relief appearances, too. Wonder if he could go the other way, or have some utility as a Kieschnickian super-sub.
What really hurts is that the O’s had a handshake agreement with him that he would sign a new contract with them in the minors after they removed him from their 40 man roster. Then Cito Gaston stepped in and took him off to Canada.
Part of me really thinks what he did was a bit underhanded for agreeing to something and then going back on it. Especially after having enjoyed that $4 million signing bonus he got after being drafted.
But at the same time, if I had been through the O’s development system once, I probably would want to avoid going through it the second time. I don’t doubt that the instruction he got from Toronto’s system was far more beneficial to him than he would have gotten through Baltimore’s.
On top of that, it is his home country’s team.
It just sucks being an O’s fan, I guess.
Comment by Chris in Hawaii — September 14, 2011 @ 3:23 pm
love having Canadian’s on my Jays! Especially Lawrie.
I will pass on Bay though.
Comment by Matty Brown — September 14, 2011 @ 3:28 pm
I know that O’s fans are bitter about Loewen jumping to the Jays, but he was unprotected at the beginning of the year, and any team (including the O’s) could have picked him up in the Rule 5 draft.
He looks good at the plate, if a bit deliberate in his mechanics. (Or: his mechanics look good, but he’s not as fluid or “natural” as some sweet-swinging lefties.) I imagine he would be a rock-solid hitter by now had he stayed a positional player all along. But it has been an impressive comeback trail for Loewen, and maybe he can catch on for a while a la Ankiel.
Comment by greenfrog — September 14, 2011 @ 8:38 pm
Comment by notyourbuddy — September 14, 2011 @ 11:23 pm
I can’t imagine the Jays arbitrarily choosing Thames over Loewen. I hope to see a spring-time battle, with the two changing places between Toronto and Las Vegas until one seizes the job for good and all. If the Jays can find a suitor for Davis, then Thames could be the corners backup, with Loewen the CF backup.
I remember reading some years ago an article (probably by Bill James) that talked about players being able to succeed at BOTH hitting and pitching (or to switch from one to the other) and how that may be a sign of a decreasing talent level (in the league). I think some supporting evidence was that the standard deviation rate (although I have no idea of which stats… across the board?) was increasing, which also (at least was argued to) points to a decreasing talent level. Is this something that is generally thought to be true? false? I’m interested to see what people think. [Mind you, I think Loewen’s story is pretty damn awesome].
Comment by Travis Snider — September 15, 2011 @ 2:43 pm
Agreed that he never had good enough stuff for starting. No other organization but the Orioles would have put him in the rotation. A creative team could really use a position player like Loewen to mop up innings in blowouts, though there seems to be an unwritten rule that a team with a giant lead will not use position players to pitch at all.
It could mean the difference between staying in the majors or not for a player like Loewen. I would be going to the manager if I was him and saying I am up to pitch on occasion in long relief.
Comment by Phantom Stranger — September 15, 2011 @ 3:49 pm
If you wanted him, you could have claimed him in the Rule 5 draft.