If you’ve ever read this blog which, let’s face it, is a big ‘if’, you know I have a bit of a man crush on Dexter Fowler (and all of his triples). Just to make one thing very clear- Dexter Fowler runs like a gazelle. He’s BUILT like an athlete (6’4” 200) and moves like a freak. The facts: He stole 13 bases, had 20 doubles, 14 triples, and 6 homers in just over 500 plate appearances, hitting .260 with a still-developing swing. The math: that equates to a steal every 38 plate appearances, a triple every 36 times he came up to the plate, a double every 25 PA’s, and an extra base hit every 12.625 he stepped in the box. These are delightful numbers to me. A young player, still re-tooling his swing, AT SPACIOUS COORS FIELD, capable of hitting the gap and flying around the bases? I’m hyperventilating just imagining him gracefully loping from first to third.
But am I alone in my infatuation? It would not be the first time this has happened. But hark! What say you Bill James? And you Dan Szymborski (he does ZiPs projections)?
_________ G PA H 2B 3B HR RBI SB AVG
JAMES 145 575 144 32 12 7 46 18 .285
ZiPs 150 591 141 30 13 7 49 21 .271
Even ZiPs, which I generally think undersells projections has similar numbers to James’. I am pretty pleased with Mr. James’ predictions here. He has Fowler at an extra base hit every 11.27 plate appearances. My only question is why no one, Bill James included, seems to think Fowler will improve his stealing ability with further at bats. This seems illogical to me. He stole 27 in 500+ PA in 2009, and had much better steal ratios in the minors (here). Players like Fowler tend to be raw on the bases for a few years before settling into a more comfortable SB/CS ratio. Fowler is easily capable of stealing 25-30 bases, making him an immensely interesting fantasy commodity rather than a marginally interesting one. Add that to what I’m guessing above are low estimates on the extra base hits, and baby, you got a stew goin’!
Look for how the Rockies are using him to start the year as I forsee him settling in with regular at bats into a very useful extra base hit machine.