Dexter Fowler’s Crazy Evening

After being optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Dexter Fowler is back in the minors trying to show the Rockies that he can still help them win baseball games. I honestly have no idea whether he helped or hurt his cause last night. Below is a breakdown of his six plate appearances in their 5-4 extra innings victory over Tacoma:

1st inning: Walk
3rd inning: Walk
5th inning: Walk
7th inning: Walk
11th inning: Walk
13th inning: Line out

By drawing walks in each of his first five plate appearances, Fowler tied the PCL record for most walks in a single game. His OBP for the evening was a stellar .833, even after he got tired of free passes and swung at the first pitch he saw in his final at-bat. Anyone who can get on base five times in a ballgame is helping their team win, right?

Err, maybe not. Here’s what else Fowler did after reaching base last night:

1st inning: Doubled off first base on a fly out to right field.
3rd inning: Thrown out trying to advance to third base on a single to left field.
5th inning: Picked off first base by pitcher.
7th inning: Out at second on a double play groundout.
11th inning: Drama Free!

Despite reaching base five times, Fowler never advanced farther than second base safely, and he made three outs on the bases through his own actions. We can’t hold him responsible for Ian Stewart’s GIDP in the seventh, of course, the first three outs are clearly on him, as is the final out when he actually swung the bat. Once you account for baserunning, Fowler didn’t do much to help his team all that much after all.

Since beginning his stint in Triple-A (which began as a rehab assignment but is now more permanent), Fowler is just 3 for 34, and the five walks last night only served to increase his OPS for Colorado Springs to .343. Not exactly demanding a spot back in the big leagues so far; in fact, I’d guess that Fowler is well on his way to being a “change of scenery” player, and he might be trade bait for the Rockies this summer.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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11 years ago

Dexter Fowler is an enigmatic sonofabitch. How did he have such a fluky first year on the base paths and then forget how to steal bases?

11 years ago
Reply to  Nick

how has Brett Gardner been caught stealing 10 out of 24 tries after stealing 47 in 56 tries last year? how has Juan Pierre been caught stealing 9 out of 19 tries after stealing 68 out of 86 tries last year? personally, I think catchers are strengthening their arms & studying tape of base stealer’s more to find their “tells”, hence they’re getting caught more.

example: Gardner, until a few weeks ago, NEVER stole on a pitcher’s first pitch. he would sit there timing the pitcher giving the catcher time to wait until his body language changed & it was obvious he was going to go.

11 years ago
Reply to  shaolin730

I had totally forgot the other two when I posted this bit about Dexter. You’re right, it’s not just like Gardner and Pierre got slower, but there’s some element of “getting in your own head” that I think must play a role.

It could be the stronger catchers theory. It could just be silly trends we dont see… after all, 5 of Dexter’s 27 steals came in a single game against the notoriously poor-armed Nick Hundley. So that’s roughly 19% of this steals in his rookie year. At the same time though, his success rate has gone down. It’s really odd…

11 years ago
Reply to  shaolin730

Are CS% up overall? It doesn’t seem like it. For MLB as a whole: the success rate for 2011 so far (SB/[CS+SB]) is 72%, exactly what it has been for the last couple of years (there’s been some per-league variation: AL is slightly higher this year than in past years, while the NL is slightly lower, but that may just be early-season noise). It does seem like players are trying to run more, as the rates of both SB/game and CS/game are up over past years, but that may be always true in the first half of any season when legs are fresh and rookies are challenging arms.