Split Decision: A Breakdown of Brandon Lowe’s 2021 Splits

Mike Kurland dives into Brandon Lowe's splits from the 2021 baseball season and discusses which half you should buy more into.

Every year players have interesting splits. Some start strong and some finish strong. Some have notable splits against left-handed pitchers or right-handed pitchers. This article will discuss one player with notable splits and discuss what changed in the profile to produce the change in numbers. If a player makes drastic changes to an approach or profile it could lead to being more than a hot stretch and the goal is to hopefully identify some players who made these types of changes. This will be an ongoing series.

Lastly, please note that this is meant to inform you on the numbers and changes in production that led to the changes in production. This should help you in creating your own opinion on a player as there will be no personal bias implemented within the breakdown.

Brandon Lowe’s 2021 Splits

Brandon Lowe’s splits are notable for various reasons. Not only did he have a strong second half but he also hit terribly against LHP. At least on the surface.

1st Half.208.78232.2%11.6%.332116
2nd Half.291.95921.1%10.4%.400162

Although Lowe posted a very solid 116 wRC+ in the first half he barely hit .200 in the process and the wOBA was roughly league average. So what changed in the second half to spark such a strong finish to 2021?

  • Cut down on the swing-and-miss: SwStr% was cut down from 16.9% to 15.1% (still high) and we saw the contact rates rise across the board with the overall contact% improving from 66.9% to 72%.
  • He was more aggressive at the plate: the swing% increased from 51.1% to 54%.
  • He increased his average launch angle from 15.4 degrees to 18.4 degrees which assisted in the dip in GB% and increase in the LD% that occurred. These numbers also are more in-line with the 2020 production which is where we saw the potential for the next level in production begin.
  • Better BABIP luck in the 2nd half: from just .244 to .314 which is more in-line with the career .308 BABIP he has posted thus far.
  • He improved against LHP (more on this below)

LHP Splits

There was a lot that went right for Brandon Lowe in the second half but his growth against LHP stood out.

It is hard to take much away from the small sample size that comes from splits let alone splits in a single season against a certain type of pitcher. However, the trend was similar in 2020 and he tends to figure out LHP in the second halves of seasons maybe it is by chance or part of hot streaks but he does show to potential to hit them well.

2022 Outlook

Brandon Lowe is obviously a bit streaky. However, he is one of the few Rays players you can count on for 600 at-bats and Lowe did finish out the season leading off so if he can even just lead off against RHP for the season that will get him those at-bats regardless. He may sit against tough LHP but you know what production you are getting with him. If he can sustain most of how he finished 2021 maybe the best is yet to be seen in a full season.

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