Rhett Lowder continues to impress in Dayton

The 22-year-old has a 1.00 ERA through nine innings pitched

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rhett Lowder throws during spring training baseball workouts in Goodyear, Ariz., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

hed: Rhett Lowder continues to impress in Dayton

dek: The 22-year-old has a 1.00 ERA through nine innings pitched

pq: “I’ve just been looking forward to this day for a while, so it was a lot of fun,” Lowder on April 5.

By Jesse Deal Stanly County Journal

ALBEMARLE — Stanly County baseball standout Rhett Lowder has answered the call of duty in his first two professional starts as a member of the Dayton Dragons, the High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

The former North Stanly and Wake Forest right-handed pitcher — drafted seventh overall with the Reds’ first-round pick last year — has a 1.00 ERA with 10 strikeouts in nine innings during his two starts.

Pitching at the Dragons’ Day Air Ballpark in Dayton, OH, Lowder kicked off his pro career on April 5 against the Lansing Lugnuts, playing his first real game since he pitched for the Demon Deacons in the College World Series last June.

Lowder retired the first eight Lansing batters he faced, recording four of his five strikeouts during that stretch. In four innings, he allowed two hits, no runs and a single walk on 65 pitches in the Dragons’ 1-0 season-opening loss.

Out of his 65 pitches in his debut performance, 45 of them were strikes.

“A long time coming,” Lowder said to local Dragons reporters following that game. “It was a lot of fun getting out there. Definitely a little bit nervous, but that’s every game. Just more so excited. There’s a good crowd here. I’ve just been looking forward to this day for a while, so it was a lot of fun.”

The 22-year-old followed up his first start with another strong outing on April 12, pitching on the road against the Cedar Rapids Kernals. In that matchup, he allowed one run on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts in five innings.

So far, opposing batters have only generated a batting average of .176 against the Albemarle native, resembling the dominance he showed over the past few years in the college baseball circuit.

Lowder’s high ceiling as a baseball player wasn’t always immediately apparent — he was just the No. 491 recruit in his high school class but he quickly worked his way up to become a three-year starter at Wake and one of the top pitchers in college baseball.

As a two-time ACC Pitcher of the Year (2022 and 2023), Lowder led the NCAA in wins (15) during his junior season in 19 appearances while ranking fourth in ERA (1.87). He also pitched seven shutout innings against LSU in the 2023 College World Series, eventually adding a First-Team All-American honor to his padded resume.

While the Demon Deacons fell short in a must-win extra innings situation in that championship series, they still came away from that season with program records in regular season wins, ACC wins, ACC series wins, postseason wins and overall wins.

Lowder’s current team landed sixth in Baseball America’s recent list of most talented minor league teams in the country, while he personally debuted at No. 34 in MLB Pipeline’s top 100.

In a team-friendly deal last July, Lowder and the Reds agreed to terms with a $5.7 million signing bonus that comes in below the $6.28 million slot value of the seventh selection.

Depending on his continued performances and the Reds’ pitching depth, he could potentially make his MLB debut this season.