Adam Loewen’s conversion from pitcher to outfielder went well enough that he made it back to the majors with Toronto as a hitter in September, but the Blue Jays let him go after the season and now the former No. 4 overall pick has signed a minor-league deal with the Mets.
Loewen played well at Triple-A, hitting .306 with 17 homers and an .884 OPS in 134 games, but Las Vegas inflates hitting numbers and his 136 strikeouts in 585 plate appearances aren’t particularly encouraging. He’s also 27 years old, so time is running out for Loewen to stick in the majors as an outfielder.
As a pitcher Loewen ranked 13th on Baseball America‘s annual list of top prospects in 2004, but his days on the mound ended after 164 innings of 5.38 ERA ball for the Orioles. And now he could end up with a bench spot in New York.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: