Family ties: Rays take another Lowe in Draft

Family ties: Rays take another Lowe in Draft

ST. PETERBURG -- The Rays doubled up on the Lowe bloodline on Saturday when they selected Nathaniel Lowe in the 13th round (390th overall) of the 2016 Draft.

Lowe is a junior first baseman at Mississippi State, and he is the brother Joshua Lowe, the prep third baseman from Pope High School in Marietta, Ga., the Rays selected in the first round (13th overall).

Nathaniel Lowe entered Saturday's College World Series action with a .354 average, five home runs and 49 RBIs. He is the only player on the Bulldogs team that has started every game this season. Mississippi State is still alive in the tournament, but after losing, 1-0, to Arizona on Friday night in the regional in Starkville, Miss., the Bulldogs needed to win two in a row to reach Omaha.

Nathaniel played at Mercer in 2014 before transferring to St. Johns River (Fla.) State College. He turned down an offer in the 10th round of last year's Draft to attend Mississippi State.

"Nathaniel's a big old boy," said Pope High School baseball coach Jeff Rowland, who has coached both brothers. "He's a hitter. He sprays the ball all over the place and hits for power. He's an RBI machine. That's what he did for us, and he's continued to do that -- last year at St. John's River and this year at Mississippi State. He's a middle of the lineup drive-in guy, and Josh could be that guy. He's still got some filling out to do. His tools are off the chart."

Nathaniel stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 235 pounds. His father, David, spoke about other differences between his sons other than size.

"One thing about Nathaniel, for all of Joshua's pure athleticism, Nathaniel has always been a bigger kid who isn't fast-twitch," David said. "But when it comes to what he does, especially with the bat in his hands, he may be the smartest hitter in all of college baseball. And I'm not throwing it out there. I'm just telling you what people who have been around him [said] and have watched his approach, he's been using a professional approach to hitting for at least the last four years."

Like Joshua, Nathaniel also has a power arm, which might open the door for him to play third base or one of the corner outfield spots. The only tool Nathaniel lacks is the speed his brother possesses.

The brothers played together during Nathaniel's senior season at Pope High and Joshua's freshman year.

"We won the state championship in 2013 and [Nathaniel] was a gigantic part of what we did, just like Joshua's been the last few years, too," Rowland said.

Rowland said there has never been a sibling rivalry between the pair.

"They pull for each other," said Rowland, whose son, Matt, was selected by the Braves in the 11th round on Saturday. "They're a close-knit family and I don't think there's any ego situation going on and I think they're happy for each other and with each other's accomplishments. They're just good people. It's good to see good things happen to good people."

David laughed when asked about the brothers getting along.

"They've always gotten along on the field. I'm not going to say they've always gotten along inside the house," David said. "But as they've both gotten older and bigger, and things could break, body parts and furniture, we kind of tapped that down quite a bit."

The Lowe brothers share quite an athletic heritage. David pitched his Satellite Beach, Fla., high school to a state title his senior year. He also played football and committed to play football and baseball at Vanderbilt before getting nominated for the United States Naval Academy. David always wanted to be an astronaut, so he headed for Annapolis, Md., where he played linebacker for the football team and pitched for the baseball team en route to a career as a Navy pilot.

The boys' mother, Wendy, ran track and played basketball in high school.

The parents have sat in a lot of bleachers and watched a lot of baseball games featuring their sons, often adopting a "divide and conquer" approach so at least one parent could be at their games.

They've worn their splinters well. Now the Lowe's have the distinction of having both sons taken in the Major League Draft by the same organization.

"We had zero idea that the Rays were taking Nathaniel," David said. "When the Rays jumped up and took him, we were extremely excited."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.