Adam Loewen
Loewen pitching for the Baltimore Orioles in 2006
Pitcher / Outfielder
Born: (1984-04-09) April 9, 1984 (age 38)
Surrey, British Columbia
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
May 23, 2006, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last appearance
August 14, 2016, for the Arizona Diamonbacks
MLB statistics
(through 2016 season)
Win–loss record10–8
Earned run average5.85
Strikeouts159
Batting average.189
Home runs1
Runs batted in4
Teams
Medals
Men's baseball
Representing  Canada
Baseball World Cup
Bronze medal – third place 2009 Nettuno Team

Adam Alexander Loewen (born April 9, 1984) is a Canadian former professional baseball pitcher and outfielder. He pitched in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles from 2006 to 2008, before converting to a position player and playing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. After spending the next two seasons in the minors as a position player, Loewen converted back to being a pitcher, and was called up to the Philadelphia Phillies in August 2015. He pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016.

Though there have been full-time pitchers who have converted to full-time position players, and vice versa, Loewen's three stage career (converting from full-time pitcher to full-time position player and back to full-time pitcher) is unique in major league history.

Biography

Loewen grew up in Surrey, British Columbia, and was both a starting pitcher and first baseman for Kennedy-Surrey Little League, the team that represented Canada at the 1996 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.[1] He would go on to attend Fraser Valley Christian High School and play baseball for the Whalley Chiefs of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League. He committed to play college baseball at Arizona State. While still in high school, he pitched a no-hitter against the Dominican Summer League Pirates for the Canadian national baseball team.[2]

Professional career

Baltimore Orioles

Loewen was selected with the fourth overall pick of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles.[3] This was the highest a Canadian player had ever been drafted until righthander Jameson Taillon was drafted second overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates (though he remains the highest Canadian-born player ever picked, as Taillon was born the child of Canadian nationals in Florida).

Loewen went on to play one season with Chipola College, but signed a Major League Baseball contract with Baltimore worth $4.02 million shortly thereafter. In 2004, he was named their top prospect by Baseball America. However, by early 2006, he had been downgraded to the team's second best prospect.

Loewen garnered international attention on March 8, 2006, when he started for Canada against the star-studded United States team in the first round of the World Baseball Classic. In 323 shutout innings, Loewen held veterans Chipper Jones, Mark Teixeira, Vernon Wells, and Derrek Lee hitless. He ended up earning the win as Canada won the game 8–6.[4]

During the 2006 season, Loewen was called up by the Orioles. In his first four Major League starts, he faced three former Cy Young Award winners: Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine and Roy Halladay, whom he faced twice. This made Loewen the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to face Cy Young winners in his first four starts.[5] He was injured early in the 2007 season, suffering a stress fracture to his pitching elbow, and was later placed on the 60-day disabled list in May.[6]

Loewen began to develop control problems during spring training, where he led the Majors in walks, with 19 in just over 16 innings.[7] His lack of control did not cease during the early stages of the regular season, and after experiencing soreness in his left arm throughout April, Loewen was placed on the disabled list and missed the next two months of the season.[8] Although he was subsequently converted into a relief pitcher when he returned in July, he experienced a sharp pain in his surgically repaired elbow. This injury, diagnosed as a stress fracture, eventually caused him to prematurely end his season.[9] Loewen announced on July 19 that he would no longer be a pitcher due to his chronic injuries, and that he would convert to an outfielder/first baseman.[10] He temporarily ended his pitching career with a lifetime 8–8 record, with an earned run average of 5.38 and 134 strikeouts; he would return to pitching in 2014, as recounted below.

Transition to position player

Loewen batting for the Las Vegas 51s, Triple-A affiliates of the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2011.
Loewen batting for the Las Vegas 51s, Triple-A affiliates of the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2011.

Due to the nature of his injury and his inability to remain as a pitcher, Loewen had the Orioles' support when he made the decision to transition to a position player. His contract stipulated that he was required to remain with the big league club on its active roster at this stage in his career. As Loewen would need time in the minors to learn a new position and pick up batting experience, both sides agreed on October 20, 2008 that Loewen would be released from his contract. Both sides had talked about re-signing him to a minor league contract though no formal agreement was ever reached. The Orioles had hoped to develop Loewen to play at first base but were also actively in the market to sign free agent first basemen. Loewen reportedly received several offers from other teams, and signed a minor-league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.[11][12] After attending minor-league spring training with the Jays, Loewen was assigned to the Dunedin Blue Jays on April 9, 2009.[13]

During 2011 with Triple-A Las Vegas, Loewen batted .306 with 17 home runs and 85 RBI in 134 games, which also saw him play all three outfield positions as well as first base.[14]

Toronto Blue Jays

Loewen was called up to the Blue Jays on September 6, 2011, marking his first trip back to the majors since becoming a position player.[15][16] Loewen made his position player debut on September 7, against the Boston Red Sox. He recorded his first career hit in the eighth inning, against reliever Daniel Bard.[17] In a game against his former team, the Baltimore Orioles, on September 11, Loewen hit his first career home run, a solo shot over the centre field wall off starter Tommy Hunter.[18]

New York Mets

On November 22, 2011, Loewen signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets.[19] He spent most of the 2012 season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, batting .227 with eight home runs and 27 RBI in 63 games.[14]

Return to the Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays announced on January 12, 2013 that Loewen had been signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.[20] Initially, Loewen was to start the 2013 season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats; however, on April 2, Loewen was promoted to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, where he played during 2012 in the Mets farm system.[21] On April 11, Loewen was sent down to Double-A New Hampshire.[22] In 115 games with New Hampshire, he hit .269 with 15 home runs and 60 RBI.[14]

Philadelphia Phillies and return to pitching

On April 16, 2014, Loewen signed a two-year minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies as a pitcher. The team sent him to extended spring training.[23] He made two starts in May for the High-A Clearwater Threshers before being promoted to the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils.[24]

On August 7, 2015, Loewen was called up by the Phillies from the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.[25]

Arizona Diamondbacks

On October 30, 2015, Loewen signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.[26] On July 30, 2016, the Diamondbacks brought Loewen up from the Triple-A Reno Aces as a pitcher.[27] He was designated for assignment on August 15.[28]

Texas Rangers

On February 13, 2017, Loewen signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers.[29] He elected free agency on November 6, 2017. On January 12, 2018, Loewen re-signed with the Rangers.[30] On May 31, 2018, Loewen was released by the Rangers after spending the beginning of 2018 with the AAA Round Rock Express.[31]

New Britain Bees

On June 26, 2018, Loewen signed with the New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.[32] He became a free agent following the 2018 season.

International career

He was selected Canada national baseball team at the 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2009 Baseball World Cup 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier[33] and 2019 WBSC Premier12.[34]

References

  1. ^ Sandler, Jeremy (February 25, 2009). "Loewen comfortable in transition for pitcher to hitter". Canada.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^ Simpson, Allan (May 22, 2002). "Baseball America Online - 2002 Draft Preview". Baseball America. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "1st Round of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  4. ^ "U.S. rallies, but can't overcome 8-0 hole vs. Canada". ESPN. Associated Press. March 9, 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  5. ^ Fordin, Spencer (June 18, 2006). "O's, Loewen drop finale to Mets". Baltimore Orioles. MLB.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Fordin, Spencer (May 9, 2007). "Notes: Loewen's rehab is rest". Baltimore Orioles. MLB.com. Archived from the original on December 12, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  7. ^ "2008 MLB Player Pitching Stats". MLB.com. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  8. ^ Schmuck, Peter (April 26, 2008). "On the Orioles' Adam Loewen". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  9. ^ Fordin, Spencer (July 8, 2008). "Loewen aggravates stress fracture". Baltimore Orioles. Archived from the original on July 14, 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  10. ^ Fordin, Spencer (July 19, 2008). "Loewen abandons pitching for hitting". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on July 28, 2008. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  11. ^ Bastian, Jordan (November 7, 2008). "Loewen's transition under way for Jays". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  12. ^ Kelly, Cathal (October 24, 2008). "Jays sign Canadian Adam Loewen". Toronto Star. Toronto. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  13. ^ "Jays announce Opening Day roster". OurSports Central. April 9, 2009. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
  14. ^ a b c "Adam Loewen Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on August 13, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  15. ^ Chisholm, Gregor (September 6, 2011). "Toronto to add six Minor Leaguers to roster". Toronto Blue Jays. MLB.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  16. ^ Chisholm, Gregor (September 8, 2011). "Wielding bat, Loewen makes emotional return". Toronto Blue Jays. MLB.com. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  17. ^ "Encarnacion drives in five, Jays comeback to beat Red Sox". TSN. The Canadian Press. September 8, 2011. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  18. ^ "Former pitcher Adam Loewen homers as Blue Jays nip Orioles". ESPN. Associated Press. September 11, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  19. ^ Nicholson-Smith, Ben (November 22, 2011). "Minor Moves: Braves, Loewen, Garrison". MLB Trade Rumors. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  20. ^ "Blue Jays sign Canadian OF Loewen to minor-league contract". TSN. The Canadian Press. January 14, 2013. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  21. ^ "Bisons add Loewen, Anderson dealt". Buffalo Bisons. April 2, 2013. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  22. ^ "Fisher Cats Make Roster Moves". OurSports Central. April 11, 2013. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  23. ^ "Julio Teheran tosses 3-hitter in blanking of Phillies". ESPN. Associated Press. April 16, 2014. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  24. ^ Meoli, Jon (August 21, 2014). "Ex-Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen back on the mound in Double-A Reading". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on August 22, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  25. ^ Short, D.J. (August 6, 2015). "Adam Loewen is headed back to the majors as a pitcher". NBC Sports. Archived from the original on August 8, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  26. ^ "Transactions". Arizona Diamondbacks. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  27. ^ "Diamondbacks' Adam Loewen: Selected from Triple-A". CBS Sports. July 30, 2016. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  28. ^ "Diamondbacks' Adam Loewen: Designated for assignment". CBS Sports. August 15, 2016. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  29. ^ "Transactions". Texas Rangers. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  30. ^ Eddy, Matt (January 23, 2008). "MINOR LEAGUE TRANSACTIONS". Baseball America. Archived from the original on January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  31. ^ Eddy, Matt (June 10, 2018). "Minor League Transactions". Baseball America. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  32. ^ "Bees Add Two, Including Former Big League Pitcher". New Britain Bees. June 26, 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  33. ^ "Baseball Canada announces roster for Pan Am Games Qualifier". Baseball Canada. January 9, 2019. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  34. ^ "Baseball Canada reveals 2019 WBSC Premier12® roster". Baseball Canada. October 8, 2019. Archived from the original on October 9, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.