St. Louis Cardinals: The value of oufielder Dexter Fowler

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 17: Tommy Pham #28, Dexter Fowler #25 and Magneuris Sierra #43 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the New York Mets on July 17, 2017 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 17: Tommy Pham #28, Dexter Fowler #25 and Magneuris Sierra #43 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the New York Mets on July 17, 2017 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals may have just turned a corner offensively and our outfield may be the reason. With Dexter Fowler back from the DL, we will finally start playing our best lineup. This article will contain my new Predator Run Index (PRI) for evaluating players.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ last couple of days have shown we are contenders. Getting Dexter Fowler back could prove critical. With our foot on the gas pedal, steaming ahead, we now find ourselves a promising 2.5 games back in the NL Central and a never-felt-so-close seven games back in the Wild Card during this four game win streak.

What a week can do for a baseball team.  I mentioned in my last article, “St. Louis Cardinals: We should not fear the Chicago Cubs,” that we are on the upswing, and the projections look promising for the St. Louis Cardinals to last through the rest of the year in contention. I also mentioned in my first article “Outlook for the optimistic 2017 fan” with the addition of Dexter Fowler off the DL, we could see a spark in the offense.

In actuality, an explosion of the offense has occurred since our series against the Cincinnati Reds for multiple reasons. I definitely do not want to say Dexter Fowler is the reason, rather, I want to make it clear that he is a key part to what has transpired because he snowballed everything into place.

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This season, we have seen a plethora of underperforming St. Louis Cardinals’ hitters, especially with a few of our outfielders.

With all the injuries and personal issues regarding Stephen Piscotty, he has been a shell of himself from a year ago.

Also, Randal Grichuk has not shown the improvement we wanted in plate discipline, which for a better part of the season has placed us in a tough spot.

First analytically, let us look further into the value of our outfielders this season. When we search the players record in games they have played and achieved a hit in, it becomes even more clear who the odd man out should be.

Tommy Pham is having a spectacular season and he is 35-24 in games when he gets a hit. Jose Martinez is 22-13 when he gets a hit. Randal Grichuk is 29-15 when he gets a hit. Dexter Fowler is 25-23 when he gets a hit. Last, and least, Stephen Piscotty is 19-24 when he gets a hit.

That can show a multitude of things, but I think it highlights something more than anything else. Stephen Piscotty was a drag in the lineup even when he got hits. He was just plain unproductive, and showed no power, slugging .362.

Also, having an OPS of .702 is well below the Major League average. Placing him in the middle of the order was simply a bad move by Matheny. It was a major factor in our power outage as a team.

Clearly, Dexter Fowler is not “knocking the ball out of the park” so-to-speak, but he is an upgrade. I also do not believe we have seen what a healthy Fowler can do, so I would expect the former catalyst of the defending champions offense to spark ours for the remainder of the season as well.

The next piece of analytics with the outfield I would like to share is my Predator Run Index (PRI). This differs from my Predator Power Index (PPI) mentioned in my previous article.

This statistical value uses their OPS as well as other statistics to create a run value for the player. Then I compare that to an average MLB player run value. If a player’s PRI = 0, then he is average. A positive number is an above average player and negative is a below average player.

Compared to 626 other qualifying players, which includes players with over 10 plate appearances, here is how our outfielders faired statistically on my newest update on August 9th:

Player                     PRI Rank        PRI

Pham:                      47th              8.05

Martinez:                102nd           3.11

Fowler:                    106th            3.02

Grichuk:                   319th          -1.09

Piscotty:                  432nd         -2.26

The difference between Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty via PRI is 5.28. An All-Star caliber player is 8.00 on the PRI. With adding Dexter Fowler we added a near All-Star player in the difference between the two players. We did added more than the 3.02 PRI he is worth by subtracting our negative player statistically.

As I mentioned before, Dexter Fowler is not the reason we have won the last couple of games, but he is the reason for the higher projections offensively in the future that could keep this little run going.

We have desperately been needing offense, and replacing Piscotty for Fowler is genius. Adding a consistent Fowler every day should swing us more in the right direction, continually putting our best lineup out there every day. Not to mention, now we do not have to watch Matheny put in bad players in our fourth and fifth spot in the lineup. Now we can insert a much better Jose Martinez.

Next: Three shortstop options for 2018

If you have read my other articles it is clear I am optimistic for this 2017 St. Louis Cardinals club. All my reasons are based on statistical evidence using my two indexes, Predator Power Index and Predator Run Index. The last couple of days have been great and I do hope it continues longer, as all fans do. Stay patient, stay reasonable, and we may just find our way into the Fall Classic thanks to the value Dexter Fowler brings to the offense.