The St. Louis Cardinals spent money this off-season on their new center fielder. What started slowly for the new Cardinal, has turned around and all of MLB is taking notice.
Dexter Fowler joined the St. Louis Cardinals this off-season and was brought in to bolster the outfield defense as well as to become the newest lead-off hitter. Fowler, in his career, has been a great batter but Cardinals Nation experienced indigestion as the 2017 campaign began and Fowler’s bat was quiet.
Fowler’s first four games saw him going 1-for-4, 1-for-4, 1-for-5, and 0-3. At the conclusion of those first four games, Dexter’s slash sat at a sad .188/.278/.188. This was NOT what the St. Louis Cardinals purchased.
The St. Louis Cardinals and all of Cardinals Nation had to find patience. This patience, however, would certainly be tested. Through the series in Washington (through nine games on the season), Fowler’s slash had not improved and sat at .171/.275/.200.
Even more shockingly were his strikeout numbers: through the Nationals series, Fowler had K’d twelve times. On his career, Fowler typically strikes out between a career-low of 104/season to a career-high of 154/season (two seasons ago in Chicago). These equate to 0.64 K/game to 0.95 K/game. Through the first nine games, Fowler had set a pace to go 216 Ks on the season.
Fowler’s awakening came around April 18 in the second game of the three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Through April 17, Fowler’s slash sat at .132/.207/.151. He had amassed seven hits to this point (one double, zero triples, zero home runs), zero RBI, and seventeen strikeouts.
Then the lights turned on. Fowler picked up his first triple on April 18 and that seemed to be the spark he needed. His first home run as a Cardinal came in his two-home-run game on April 19 on the final game of the Pittsburgh sweep.
As Fowler went, so did the St. Louis Cardinals. The three-game sweep of Pittsburgh was the turning point for the Cards who had limped out of the gate in the very way that Adam Wainwright limped out of the batter’s box in Milwaukee when his Achilles ruptured in 2016. The Cardinals had amassed only four wins through April 17. After Fowler awakened, the Cardinals built their season to 11-11.
Here’s the Twitter praise for the awakening of Fowler since April 18:
Wow, right?! .389 is definitely what the St. Louis Cardinals were purchasing when they signed Dexter this past winter.
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Since April 18, Fowler has struck out nine times. That equates to an average of 1K/game. He has twenty-five Ks on the year. While he has cut down on these, he is at a pace now to strike out 184 times this season. If he continues the improvement on cutting down the Ks, he could look to see normal numbers of Ks as per his career.
So is the slow start for Dexter a normal thing? Through nine games in 2016, Fowler’s slash was .467/.590/.733. In 2015, his first nine games held a slash of .282/.333/.538. In 2014, his first nine games held a slash of .235/.278/.441. In short, this season seems to be an outlier.
All-in-all, Dexter has awakened and is carrying the St. Louis Cardinals with him. We members of Cardinals Nation hope he continues his recent trend and that the Cardinals follow suit. Thanks for reading and GO CARDINALS!