This World Series has seen some remarkable opposite-field home runs from Tampa Bay Rays’ second baseman Brandon Lowe. The left-handed Lowe cranked two opposite-field home runs in Game 2, and he hit another one in Saturday’s Game 4, putting the Rays up 5-4:
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 25, 2020
Remarkably, as Jayson Stark of The Athletic noted, Lowe hadn’t shown much opposite-field power this season until this series:
Brandon Lowe has hit 3 opposite-field HR in the last 3 games.
He'd hit one all year before that!#WorldSeries
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 25, 2020
But his home runs this series do put him in very good company:
Most HRs by a 2B in a #WorldSeries:
Chase Utley, 2009 – 5
Davey Lopes, 1978 – 3
Jeff Kent, 2002 – 3
Brandon Lowe, 2020 – 3
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) October 25, 2020
As per what gives Lowe that opposite-field power, Billy Heyen of The Sporting News explored that in a piece earlier this week:
The reason the left-handed hitting Lowe hits the ball so well the other way is how his hands remain through the baseball instead of pulling off it.
…Lowe’s hands are fast, though, and he knows it — that’s the first reason he can hit that slider away for an opposite-field home run rather than bouncing the ball into a shift.
The second reason is Lowe’s bat path. MLB hitters can all get the barrel to a breaking ball on the outer half, but it’s what comes next that makes the different. En route to his follow-through, Lowe continues to almost throw his hands (which the bat just follows) toward the left-field fence. It’s hard to pick up in fast motion, because the bat soon whips over Lowe’s shoulder. But for a split second, he stays through the baseball.
Lowe obviously has uncanny natural power for a 5-10 second baseman because of his core, wrists and legs. But he wouldn’t be able to hit opposite-field home runs without the willingness to stay on his swing a tick longer than most hitters would.
Those mechanics have certainly worked out very well for Lowe this series.
[The Sporting News; photo from Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports]