Fowler’s ineptitude in 2018 is something that is still fresh in the minds of St. Louis Cardinals fans, and it is that failure to perform that makes Martinez that much more important.
I’m sure I don’t need to jog anyone’s memory, but here’s a quick reminder that Fowler was foul last year, slashing .180/.278/.298 for a .576 OPS and an OPS+ of 59. Fowler had 52 hits in 90 games and 289 at bats, and only 18 of those hits went for extra bases. He hasn’t been the most reliable player either, playing in only 208 games out of a possible 324 while with the St. Louis Cardinals.
In addition to his lackluster showing offensively, Fowler failed to hustle or show any effort on both sides of the ball. When the time came for him to discuss his poor 2018 season, Fowler failed to take any accountability, instead blaming Mike Matheny and the front office for mishandling him.
Fowler’s sluggish appearance and poor play defensively seemed to reflect this poor attitude, and it’s everything that the Cardinal Way isn’t about. Someone who has demonstrated so many traits contrary to what you want to see in your players shouldn’t be afforded chance after chance like Fowler is, especially with a guy like Martinez on the team.
Fowler’s sluggish appearance and poor play defensively seemed to reflect this poor attitude. He failed both the advanced metric tests and the eye test. He looked terrible in the outfield and failed to get to balls that his “speed” would allow him to track down if he exerted any effort.
This showed in the defensive metrics, as he put up -5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a -5.2 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). His UZR/150 was a terrible -10.9. To top it all off, he recorded a measly 2 assists in 2018, as teams ran all over him all year long.
Fowler has had a decent career, but with his lack of production and accountability over the past year, I can’t find much reason to play him over an average player right now, much less a productive one like Jose Martinez.