Dexter Fowler (Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)
Dexter Fowler is a former top prospect. Prior to his promotion to the big leagues in 2008, Rockies fans eagerly awaited his arrival.
Fowler followed that up with five pretty good seasons that showed his tools and talent, but nothing that was All-Star worthy. In fairness to the 27-year old outfielder, he never truly had a consistent role. Fowler’s plate appearances ranged between 492 and 563 over those five seasons.
Following the Astros’ acquisition of Fowler this off-season, this is the first time he will enter a season with a guaranteed set role. We know that Fowler will be the lead-off hitter and starting center fielder. This will be the first time as a major league player that Fowler will know what to expect heading into a season. He can expect to play in 150 games and get 650 plate appearances.
The good thing when it comes to projecting Fowler’s performance is that you can take his 12 home runs and 19 stolen bases from last season and then project them forward with the additional 158 plate appearances he can be expected to receive. Based on a rough estimate, I come up with 16 home runs and 25 stolen bases. I know there are other factors involved here, but this is a good start in thinking about what we can expect from Fowler in 2014.
But as we look forward to 2014, my concern for Fowler is that he does not try to do too much in his expanded role. Often times, players put too much pressure on themselves when they move to a new team. That is something Fowler must avoid.
Resolution #1: Stay in your game, and stay true to yourself. Do not try to do too much.
Resolution #2: Work to restore the line drive rate of 27.2% from 2012. Fowler hit .300 in 2012 for what was, by far, the best average of his career. Last season, his average fell to .263 and his line drive rate also fell to 23.4%.
Carrying out both of these resolutions will ensure that Fowler lives up to expectations in his first season with the Astros.