In 2017 Dexter Fowler started his 5 year stint with the ST. Louis Cardinals, fresh off a World Series campaign with the Chicago Cubs. He posted career marks at the time of
.268/.367/.421/.788 Averaging 8 HRs/37RBIs/69 RS. (When you factor out 2009 where he only played 13 games the numbs on the slash line don't vary much). .268/.368/.423/.791 9HRs/ 42RBIs/ 77RS.
He put together a 2016 campaign of .276/.393/.447/.840 13 HR 48 RBIs 84 RS with an All Star appearance. For his efforts he was wooed by the Cardinals with a 5 year 82.5 million dollar contract that included a NO trade clause. He was viewed as a lead-off hitter and Center Fielder. Some one to get on base and be the catalyst of a running game. A runner who could steal 15-20 bases per year. While his defense was not worthy of a Gold Glove he did post numbers of 1 DRS and a 13 Rtot.
To some it was viewed as a panic move after the death of Oscar Tavaras and the departure of Jason Heyward. Whether panic or calculated risk the move was made. At first glance the 82.5 million and NTC were questioned by many. There were those that felt the Cardinals overpaid for Fowler's services. However he was at the time considered the best CF available. Did the Cardinals need to go that high? Probably not, but we really don't know that answer, but I do think with the NTC we could have gotten him for 72millon. However it is what it is and those details cannot be changed. We will never know what the negotiations were that brought him to St. Louis, though rumors seem to indicate that Tampa Bay was in the running with a 64million dollar offer. Could we have got Dex at 65? 68? 70? who knows.
His time with the Cardinals
After a pedestrian 1st half which saw him post .248/.336/.488/.824 The second half with a fairly hot Aug/Sep he went .288/.420/..488/.888
However his lead-off position never took flight hitting only .205/.308/.390/.698 in 227PA
his best slash line with at least 50 AB was surprisingly Clean up. .333/.450/.540/.990 in 80PA.
His final stats .264/.363/.488/.851 18HRs 64RBs 68RS (Bold indicates career highs). Plus a career low in Strike Outs101. BY any metric it was a good solid first season. Yet he was much maligned. Part due to how the signing was characterized. Fowler was billed as THE lead-off hitter and an answer to Center Field. Which to many, he did not fulfill what he was paid to do.
2018 with the emergence of Tommy Pham and the acquisition of Marcel Ozuna Fowler ended up being moved to RF. Manager Mike Matheny elected to continually move him up and down the lineup. His March through June numbers.
.171/.269/.277/.546 5HRs, 20RBIs, 30RS in 216AB. In the second half before getting injured .205/.285/.356/.641 3HR, 11RBIs, 10RS in only 73AB.
It was revealed that Fowler was battling depression as well as a stormy relationship with then manger Mike Matheny. After Matheny was dismissed it did seem that Fowler "perked up" (it would have been hard to not) given his July and August numbers. Whether or not those numbers would have continued is up for debate and speculation.
2019 After a so-so Spring Training optimism was not hot. .200/.231/.340/.571 He was trotted out as the RF. 13 games later it was looking like a repeat of last year with the exception of OBP .189/.302/.243/.546 in the last ten games (up to 4/22/19) he has improved to
.313/.403/.433/.835 Over the last 8 games he is running at a
He has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. The down side to his game is only 1HR and 6RBIs.
*Part of his success may be due to the hitting of Kolten Wong and pitchers not wanting to face him especially with Men on base.
*Plus Dexter also worked with Barry Bonds in the off season and Jim Edmonds this spring. Both made suggestions in his mechanics and approach which seemed to have helped.
*Then there is his mental state. He now feels that he has a manager in Mike Schildt that trusts him. I think it shows in his plate presence. He seems to be more confident at the plate and appears to be seeing the ball better.
*A normal spot in the batting order. A steady spot in the order and in the field can go a long way to give a player confidence.
Even the most cynical fan has to realize that 2018 IN NO WAY was the "real" Dexter Fowler. Just as the most ardent Fowler supporter has to realize that sustaining his current numbers probably won't happen either.
Career wise his numbers prior to this year. 261/.360/.419/.779
He has hit .300 only one time (2012- .300)
He has been above .390 in OBP only once (2016 -.393)
He has been over .420 in SLG% 4 times 2011-.432, 2012-.474, 2015- .447, 2018- .488)
He has had an OPS over .800 3 times, 2012- .863, 2016- 840 and 2017- .851. So his career numbers do indicate that he can sustain a high .400 SLG and a over an ,800 OPS. Whether he can maintain a .300 BA and and .420+OBP we shall see.
As long as he stays as focused as he is I can see him having a .290-.300/.390.405/.435-.450/.825-.855 I for one will root for this even though it could be blocking Tyler O'Neill. Having an abundance of talent is never a bad thing.
Those are my thoughts what are yours?
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