Anyone who is at least semi-tuned into the baseball world probably knows of the Rick Ankiel story. Ace pitcher loses control/mind, switches to position player, makes it back to the Majors with team that originally drafted him.
Sounds like a Disney movie script, right? They might need to leave out the parts with cocaine use though. Disco Rick overcame the odds, and Mike Matheny’s hunting knife, to make a difference as a power hitting lefty bat.
Now, a couple years into this arduous journey, Adam Loewen is getting closer to becoming Rick Ankiel ver. 2.o. Baseball-Reference.com doesn’t seem to be buying it though as they are still listing him as a pitcher.
Adam Loewen and Rick Ankiel share a few similarities. Both were drafted high; Ankiel in the second round and Loewen 4th overall. Each originally made their trade as southpaw pitchers until their respective troubles caused them to give up the mound. One key difference is that Adam Loewen is a monster at 6’6″, 235lbs.
Ankiel’s downfall as a pitcher is a bit more ambiguous and it is still unknown exactly why he lost his ability to throw strikes. Loewen’s problems are much easier to pin down; he kept breaking his elbow.
Multiple stress fractures to Loewen’s pitching elbow eventually caused him to call it quits on pitching. Judging by his pedestrian minor league stats and his inability to consistently throw strikes at the Major League level, the Baltimore Orioles were probably never going to reap any rewards from their 1st round investment anyways. You just can’t trust those Canadians.
It is said that the Orioles tried to resign him as a minor league position player, but Loewen ultimately signed with the Toronto Blue Jays to play 1B/OF.
Although he’s a bit older than the competition, Loewen is putting up some respectable numbers in AA New Hampshire. It also appears that he’s learned a bit from Slick Rick’s mistakes and is sporting a glimmering .390 OBP. He currently has a quality .888 OPS which some say is the true mark of a hitter.
So when/if Adam Loewen makes it to The Show with the Jays and ESPN is shoving his story down your throat every 13 minutes, you can totally hipster the baseball community and say you knew about that guy, and his great hair, before he was a feel good story…