This morning the Oakland Athletics promoted outfield prospect Dustin Fowler to the major league roster. Here’s a quick review on what he offers.
Originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the ‘13 draft from high school in Dexter, Georgia, Fowler broke out in Double-A in 2016, hitting .281/.311/.458 with 12 homers and 25 steals, then followed up with a .293/.329/.542 line in Triple-A in 2017.
The Yankees promoted him to the majors last June 29th but he promptly suffered a knee injury and missed the rest of the season. He came over to the Athletics as part of the package for Sonny Gray.
Fowler ranked fourth on the pre-season Oakland Athletics Top 20 Prospects list with this commentary:
4) Dustin Fowler, OF, Grade B/B+: Age 23, drafted by Yankees in 18th round in 2013; came to Oakland in Gray deal; hit .293/.329/.542 with 13 homers, 13 steals, 15 walks, 63 strikeouts in 297 at-bats in Triple-A, promoted to majors and hurt his knee in first game then was traded; 60-grade speed before the injury, 55 power; another hitter with aggressive approach that may be problematic against the best pitching; you can make a B+ case but my instincts hold me back a tad o this one. ETA 2018.
Fowler has played quite well in 2018, hitting .310/.333/.484 with three homers, eight steals in 10 attempts, and a 5/22 BB/K ratio in 126 at-bats for Triple-A Nashville.
Born December 29th, 1994, Fowler is a left-handed hitter and thrower listed at 6-0, 195. The pre-season report remains valid: speed is his best tool and he apparently hasn’t lost much, if anything, to the knee injury. He’s got some pop, too, drawing 55 grades for raw power although it sometimes plays lower in games. He’s tapped into the power more often over the last year.
Fowler remains an aggressive hitter and drawing walks is not his forte but he hasn’t shown significant contact problems against Triple-A pitching. His 2017 and 2018 performances indicate he has nothing left to prove at that level. He just needs to play and adapt as necessary.