2024 Padres Breakout Prospect: Isaiah Lowe

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Credit: Visalia Rawhide

The 2024 San Diego Padres season is nearly upon us.

At the time of this article’s construction, 31 Friars are getting ready to open their season this Wednesday morning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Padres won’t be the only team to start its season in the coming months. When April 1 strikes, all MiLB/Padres minor league affiliates’ seasons will also kick into gear.

Fans will no doubt keep tabs on bigger-name prospects like Robby Snelling, Dylan Lesko, Lodalis de Vries, and Ethan Salas as they start their seasons down on the farm. However, even past the significant name prospects, there are plenty of young Padres prospects who are work keeping tabs on.

Often, in the deep corners of the farm, a prospect ready to pop or break out can be found. A perfect example of this is Graham Pauley, a player who, prior to last season, I predicted would be the Padres 2023 breakout prospect of the year. That prediction worked out pretty well, and hopefully, we can recreate that magic this season.

For this year’s breakout pick, we’re going to jump from the batter box over to the mound and to the electric right arm of 20-year-old Isaiah Lowe.


Prospect & Pitcher Profile: 

Isaiah Lowe is a former 11th-round pick in the 2022 MLB draft from Combine Academy in Lincolnton, NC. 

The Padres and the scouting department clearly have had a high opinion of Lowe from the start. Originally committed to playing college ball at Wake Forest, San Diego selected him with their first pick of day three and gave him 400K to sign—well above slot value for the 11th round. 

Purely on stuff, it’s easy to understand why San Diego offered as much as they did. Lowe’s power and velocity come from a couple of areas. 

Credit: Padres

Lowe has an exceptionally athletic delivery and a powerful lower half that has helped generate explosiveness on multiple pitches. 

His fastball sits at about 94-95 mph with it at times topping out at 97 mph. However, that 95 mph heater jumps on hitters quicker than expected due to the amount of extension Lowe gets because of his longer arms & wingspan.

For those unfamiliar with what I mean by the word extension, it quantifies exactly how much closer a pitcher’s release point is to home plate. 

 As well, throwing from a more of a three-quarter arm slot, Lowe’s fastball has quality depth, run and iVB(induced vertical break) that helps the ball rise in the zone, and makes it more difficult of a pitch for batters to barrel. 

Paring with the fastball is Lowe’s slider. It’s a pitch that he can use to land both strikes and generate whiffs, as it possesses some quality horizontal and vertical movement to the glove side.

His third pitch of the arsenal is a changeup. It comes in a little bit firmer than most traditional changeups, and it is not a pitch that projects anything more than average, but it does provide him with another tool that fools and deceives hitters. 

Finally, Lowe also does a good job of filling up the zone. He could do a better job of living in the shadow quadrants of the zone to help him induce softer contact and generate more swings and misses, but still, he does an excellent job of throwing balls into the strike zone. Something that can be a struggle for young pitchers with plus velocity. 


2023 Data & Takeaways. 

Now, with Lowe, the data we have to draw from or go off of is relatively minimal, as he only threw 11 ⅓ innings in Single-A Lake Elsinore last season. Yet, in those minimal innings, Lowe showed flashes of why the Padres paid above slot value to get the North Carolina native. 

Lowe worked to the tune of a 3.58 FIP, 3.14 xFIP, and a 1.59 ERA. The pitcher would also showcase his ability to throw the ball by hitters as he posted a 34.7% K%, a 31.9% Whiff%, and a 14.60 SwSrt%(Swinging strike Percentage)

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The game that Lowe perhaps showed his stuff best would ultimately be his final of the season on April 26 vs. the Visalia Rawhide, the Diamondbacks Single A affiliate. Lowe would work four innings, allowing one run, strikeout seven, and throw 65% of his pitches for strikes. An effort that showcased the strengths of his command, overall stuff, and ability to miss barrels.  

Again, it needs to be acknowledged that this is a smaller sample size of data, but from it, you can see a player who has some considerable upside. You don’t miss that many barrels, generate that high of a Whiff%, and rack up that many strikeouts if your stuff isn’t good. 

If there is one big concern with Lowe, and it’s one that is fair to have, it has to be with his ability to stay healthy. Lowe missed almost all of 2023 due to shoulder problems. Yes, It’s the first time he has missed significant time, and he has no prior injury history, but it is still important to keep an eye on. 


Why He Can Breakout 

Some of you may find it odd that I’ve selected Lowe as a breakout prospect, even after the data and profile breakdown above. And that’s fine. Maybe the sample size is too small to get behind. 

Personally, it’s given me enough to go off of. I went off just a 127 PA sample size with Pauley last season, and I’m comfortable operating off a smaller data pool with Lowe. Sometimes, the tape and data are impressive enough that you take a risk 

Credit: Padres

What we’ve seen from Lowe is a young pitcher who, at the very least right now, has two plus pitches, the ability to find the zone, and make guys consistently get swings and misses. Those three things are not easy to do, and do consistently, for young pitchers. 

While Lowe’s fastball is 94-95 mph right now, it’s certainly possible that he can still add a tick or two this season, given his size. But even if he doesn’t, and he stays at 94-95 mph, with it at times topping out at 97 mph, he has the far more important and impactful depth and break on the fastball. 

A fastball’s depth and run, which Lowe has, are more important than velocity in my eyes. MLB hitters will square up 98 or 99 if it’s flat, but if it moves and runs like Lowe’s, it’s far more difficult to track and square up. He’s shown that himself already, and in 2024, I expect him to expand upon that. 

Furthermore, Lowe possesses a relatively high ceiling.

As stated before, he’s very athletic on the mound and has a strong 6-foot-2 frame he can continue to grow into as he is just 20 years of age. He doesn’t have significant command or feel issues as some young pitchers with higher-end velocity do. Less tinkering means more time for him to focus on improving his already quality stuff. 

2024 is going to be a pivotal year for Isaiah Lowe, but from what we’ve seen and know about this young right-hander, I believe it’s the year he makes the jump. 

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