Following the New York Yankees transactions the past few days has been tough. Tuesday saw Tyler Wade come up, Wednesday was Miguel Andujar, and today is Dustin Fowler.
Wade and Andujar had nice debuts. What does Fowler have on tap?
While the 2013 MLB Draft for the Yankees will forever be remembered as the Year of The Judge, they also snagged a high-school outfielder out of West Laurens High School in Georgia in the 18th round. That outfielder was Dustin Fowler.
There was nothing special that jumped out of the stat book about Fowler’s first two seasons, but you could see he was one of those toolsy-type players that had skills across the board. He blended modest power with great speed and it worked well at the plate and in the field.
Then 2015 happened. Fowler split his time between Charleston and Tampa and put up pretty exciting numbers. Of course, his Double-A debut in Trenton in 2016 was even better, and Fowler went from under-the-radar to one of the best prospects in the Yankees system.
Fowler slashed .281/.311/.458 with 30 doubles, 15 triples and 12 home runs. He stole 25 of 36 stolen base attempts. Fowler’s weakness is glaring in his slash line. He simply doesn’t draw walks. He’s only posted over a five-percent walk-rate once at any level, and after cutting his strikeout rate down from 2015 to 2016, it is back up to worrisome levels at a career-worst 20.1 percent in 2017.
That being said, Fowler has been successful in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s slashing .293/.329/.542 with 19 doubles, eight triples, and 13 home runs, tacking on 13 stolen bases. What jumps out is a career-best 136 wRC+, a number one always likes to see go up on each rung of the ladder.
He seems to have centerfield down pretty well, but is rumored to be playing right field in his big league debut. He’s played well in his limited time in right, and his speed will help him excel. His arm is decent enough that he should play well anywhere. He posted a career-high 11 assists in 2015, but since then hasn’t really shown much in that department.
John Sickels had Fowler ranked No. 13 in the Yankees system heading into the season. Here’s what he had to say:
...rather under-the-radar nationally in a deep system but has intriguing tools including 60-grade speed and 50/55 power, 55 throwing arm; can handle center field; main concern is an aggressive hitting approach that may hamper his OBP, but he’s still young enough to improve that. ETA 2018.
The Year of the Prospect continues in the Bronx, and Fowler will get his chance to show what he can do. He and Clint Frazier will likely battle for some playing time down the stretch and in the future, so Fowler could really help his chances with a strong showing during the injury plague sweeping through the Yankees clubhouse.
The Yankees have been exceeding expectations ever since they called up Gary Sanchez last August. While Fowler isn’t the perfect prospect, there is more than plenty to like that allows you to believe he can succeed at the next level.