By Bob Wirz
Josh Lowey has had a remarkable career, including being the American Association’s Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2012 when he won a record 15 games (15-4). He has won 130 games and lost only 59 during an 11-year career, and that does not include postseason victories.
Photo Credit: www.ligadom.com
The 5-foot-11 right-hander earned additional Pitcher of the Year honors in Mexico and the Dominican Republic during the last few months and even is being called the Mayor for his accomplishments this winter for Escogido where the Lions of the Chosen are currently in the playoffs and bidding for a spot in the Caribbean Series which wraps up the offseason.
Yet, this Florida native, who turned 34 the day after Christmas, has never gotten an opportunity with a major league organization.
“I know there is a very slim chance I get a chance in (affiliated) minor league baseball because of my age,” he told NWFDailyNews.com this week, “and I don’t have any experience with a farm system.”
It seems likely Lowey will be back in the Mexican League where he went 14-5 one year ago when the full ’19 season begins unless Japan or Korea lure him. He already has been to Korea once. He led the Dominican League in wins (6-2) and starts (12) this winter, ranked second in innings pitched (55.2) and had the third best earned run average (2.10). He has been nearly as tough so far in the playoffs (2.79) although he has lost his only decision in two starts.
“It is very tough to say why (he has not gotten any opportunity with a major league organization),” he told this writer five years ago after he had helped Somerset, NJ reach the independent Atlantic League championship series by winning 14 of 22 regular-season decisions and leading the league with a 2.89 ERA. Patriots manager Brett Jodie called him “a proven winner”.
Lowey still shares the American Association record for victories in a season. Patrick Johnson of Sioux City and Kramer Sneed of St. Paul tied his mark with 15 wins apiece three years ago. Lowey had a 3.57 ERA in 23 appearances, including 20 starts, for Wichita in 2012, helping the Wingnuts reach the championship series which was won by Winnipeg.
Tyler Alexander Strong in Playoffs
Josh Lowey isn’t the only former American Association player helping Escogido in the Dominican League playoffs. Southpaw Tyler Alexander, who had a 25-16 record in three seasons with Fargo-Moorhead (2015-17), has won two of three playoff starts with a neat 1.42 ERA. The 27-year-old was 2-3, 2.68 in 11 starts during the regular season.
Alexander led the AA with 167 strikeouts in 148 innings in 2017. He allowed only 112 hits in his 21 starts that season.
Kussmaul Strong in Venezuela
Veteran hurler Ryan Kussmaul, who worked briefly at Wichita in ’16 then went 5-5, 3.06 with four saves for the Wingnuts the next year, has put up impressive numbers in Venezuela this winter. The 32-year-old right-hander, who has pitched as high as Triple-A in the affiliated minors, has a 2-1 record and 2.37 ERA while appearing in 30 games (tied for sixth in the league) for Magallanes. His 11 holds share second place in the entire league.
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and a book about his life, “The Passion of Baseball”, is available at Amazon.com or for signed copies at www.WirzandAssociates.com.