Luke Lowery enters his first season with the Grizzlies and his fifth as a professional in 2019.
Lowery, 25, played 89 games in the Frontier League last year with the Traverse City Beach Bums. He hit .248 with a .335 on-base percentage — helped in large part by 14 hit by pitches, a total that ranked third in the league behind only Normal first baseman Chris Iriart (now with Southern Illinois) and River City infielder Trevor Achenbach. He had nine home runs, 43 RBIs and a .725 OPS. Lowery also has excellent speed for a catcher: he swiped 14 bases in 19 tries a year ago and set a professional career high with 21 steals (on 27 attempts) between Short Season-A and Class-A in 2016.
A 14th-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2015 MLB Draft, Lowery played parts of three seasons in the D-Backs’ system: 2015 with the Rookie-level Missoula (Mont.) Osprey, parts of 2016 and 2017 with the Short Season-A Hillsboro (Ore.) Hops, and 20 games in 2016 with the Class-A Kane County (Ill.) Cougars.
He went on to appear briefly with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League in 2017 before landing in Traverse City.
Lowery played his college baseball with the East Carolina (N.C.) Pirates from 2013-2015. As a junior, he hit .311 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 57 games for a .961 OPS. He was also hit by 10 pitches that season and stole seven bases on nine tries. ECU won the American Athletic Conference tournament title that season and reached an NCAA regional.
As a sophomore at ECU in 2014, Lowery caught for Jeff Hoffman, who went on to become the No. 9 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft when he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays. Hoffman was then traded to the Colorado Rockies just before the MLB trade deadline the following July in the deal that sent Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. Hoffman has made 38 career MLB appearances as of 2019 Frontier League opening day.
FRONTIER LEAGUE CAREER HIGHS (single-game)
Hits: 3, five times^; most recently: vs. Joliet (Aug. 29, 2018)*#; @ Schaumburg (Aug. 26)*#
Extra-base hits: 2, four times; @ Washington (June 19, 2018); @ Lake Erie (May 31, 2018)$
Home runs: 2, @ Washington; June 19, 2018
RBIs: 5, @ Joliet; Aug. 25, 2017
Stolen bases: 2, twice; @ Joliet (Aug. 29, 2018); vs. Washington (July 29, 2018)
Hitting streak: 8, June 27-July 5, 2018
*NOTE: Those performances came as a member of the Traverse City Beach Bums in 2018.
#NOTE: Back-to-back games.
^NOTE: All five of his three-hit performances came last season with Traverse City.
$NOTE: The remaining two of Lowery’s two-extra-base-hit games came in 2017 with TC.