Since Derek Lowe was moved back to the starting rotation in 2002, he has been a model of consistency. Between the Red Sox and Dodgers over that time frame, an average season looked like this: 15-11, 208 IP, 3.83 FIP, 129 Ks, and a WHIP of 1.27. Since becoming a Dodger, his statistical resume is almost identical: 14-12, 213 IP, 3.77 FIP, 141 Ks, and 1.23 WHIP. As you can see, his move to Dodger-stadium has really helped his numbers (except W-L). The amazing thing about Lowe, though, is the lack of variation in his success. He has never gone over 220 IP or under 180, he has only 2 seasons with an ERA over 4 with only one under 3, he has yet to strike-out more than 150 without falling under 100, etc.
Last year he also benefitted from a very good defense behind him. Blake DeWitt, James Loney, the roving SS, and (not so much) Jeff Kent made up a pretty good defensive infield to gobble up all those groundballs. Which brings me to the most important aspect of Lowe’s game: his penchant for pounding the ball in the dirt. Since 2002, he has finished 1st, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st, and 2nd in GB%. It is rates like that that make him so consistent.
So what do we see in the crystal ball for Lowe next year now that he has signed with the Braves? I would expect that his numbers should only improve. While Dodger Stadium is considered a low run-scoring environment, Turner Field is fairly close. According to statcorner.com’s park factors, Turner Stadium rates as just a bit higher run-scoring environment (99.6 to 97.6) while being a tougher place to hit homeruns (99.1 to 111.1). Lowe will also likely see an improved infield defense behind him with the Braves great infield defense.
Bill James, CHONE, and Marcel all see Lowe having another solid year, and there is little reason to doubt that he will continue to do what he has done so well in the past. Lowe has made himself a very successful pitcher by not beating himself, letting his fielders play, and limiting the long-ball. This is a recipe for success that should continue through this year and beyond.
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