Is Dexter Fowler In For a Breakout?

After getting off to a red hot start last week with four home runs, a .370 average and a stolen base to boot, Dexter Fowler is a player getting and deserving of a lot of fantasy love. The question is whether the slender center fielder can keep the offense up after hitting only 29 home runs in four seasons before his hot first week.

The main reason I am confident in Fowler’s ability to hit for at worst upper teens home runs and likely 20’s his consistently increasing ISO. Since entering the league, Fowler has seen his ISO steadily grow from .141 to .150 to .166 to .174 last year. While a .174 number is certainly nothing to write home about, especially when playing in spacious Coors Field and a lot of that ISO number being derived from consistently high triples numbers, the fact that he has shown improvements in his power each and every year give a bit of confidence in his power becoming real.

With the pace he has set to begin the year, he almost certainly fall back into his more doubles and triples power for stretches at a time. Where Fowler should be especially loved is in leagues that count slugging percentage or total bases, where his double digit triples really make him an undervalued asset. Of course, when players get off to these kind of starts they first become hard to trade for as their value peaks and they also become difficult to trade because you do not want to miss out on a big upswing in value from where you drafted him. Looking at Fowler’s progression, as an owner, I am much more happy holding him and looking to see where he levels off than selling now and potentially not receiving the return he should net.

In long term leagues, however, this could time to look into moving Fowler if you have ample outfield depth or an owner in your league is struggling to find a consistent producer across most categories. As he is only under contract for this and next year, he does not have the security of playing in Coors for the long term quite yet. And let’s be real for a minute, Coors is a huge reason for his high average, high extra base hit total, and growing power.

Fowler is likely not going to turn into a new Andrew McCutchen type and blast over 30 home runs, but with a great home ballpark and consistent improvements in his offensive game, he should not be taken lightly on your fantasy roster. Look at Fowler as a solid player bought late in drafts who can help you across the board. While specialists who homer or steal at tremendously high rates are usually more sought after assets, players like Fowler or Martin Prado are the consistent cogs that build foundations for fantasy rosters and that’s what keeps you alive late in the year.

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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.

7 Responses to “Is Dexter Fowler In For a Breakout?”

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  1. LuckyStrikes says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    PECOTA had Harper, Fowler, and Trumbo as the top three players most likely for a breakout in 2013

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  2. Ago the says:

    Is ISO park adjusted?

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  3. kid says:

    Expecting Fowler to match (or best) his 2012 season – in which he set personal bests in avg, OBP, SLG, BABIP and HR/FB – isn’t a good idea. We know what he is – a useful player when deployed in certain situations.

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  4. Brian says:

    I don’t know about “breakout” but I don’t think last year’s performance was an aberration. I’ve been a Fowler fan for a while.

    He’s got the tools, and his performance last year was better than you realize. He hit .300/.389/.474 last year with 13 HR and 12 SB. Dink him on average a little because of his high BABIP and you’re still looking at a guy who could have hit a luck neutral .270.

    If he continues to make strides, which he could as a player who is 27 years old and toolsy as all get-out, and it’s easy to envision him with a .275/.375/.475 line with 22 HR and 15 SB or something like that without him taking a significant step forward. He’s got 4 HR already.

    For comparison CarGo hit .303/.371/.510 with 22/20 and he’s a consensus first or second round pick, with injury concerns.

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  5. jim says:

    fowler suffered a total power outage after may last year, including a 10 foot loss on average FB distance from his 2011 numbers. combine that with monster BABIP and K%, and i see a player in for serious regression to his career numbers

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