Lough had a solid rookie season for the Royals last season, batting .286/.311/.413 with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 96 games. Baltimore coveted Lough’s speed and defensive prowess. Lough was considered to be Nate McLouth’s replacement by many, but so far, Lough’s struggles at the plate have turned many people off. However, before you write Lough off, you should give him more chances.
Lough is by far the fastest player on the Orioles and one of the fastest in the MLB, and he uses that speed to his advantage. Lough’s ability to steal bases creates real problems for defenses, and his range in the outfield is nothing short of astounding. Combine Lough’s range with a plus-arm, and you have an elite defender. In only 130 career games, Lough’s dWAR is 1.8, and that will only rise as he gets more opportunities to play. However, if Lough wants to see the field, he’s going to have start hitting.
Coming into Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Lough was batting a dismal .140/.196/.209, but his track record suggests those numbers will improve, and Thursday night’s ballgame gave us a glimpse into Lough’s potential.
The left-hander went 3-for-4 at the plate with a walk and three runs scored, and he created havoc on the base paths. Lough was the lead-runner on a successful double-steal attempt, and added another stolen base of his own. Lough put on a show defensively too; early in the game, he gunned down Melky Cabrera at the plate on a beautiful throw, and then made a leaping grab at the wall to deny more possible runs from scoring. Lough also demonstrated his baseball IQ by using his speed to tag up from second to third base when most thought he wouldn’t. Lough would come across to score.
While Lough may not be the flashy player who gets national attention like Chris Davis, he could cement himself as a cornerstone in Baltimore’s outfield for years to come. Think Paul Blair minus the power. Dan Duquette has found another gem in Lough; just give him time to shine.