St. Louis Cardinals: Dexter Fowler is proving people wrong
The St. Louis Cardinals’ right fielder is off to a quiet, albeit hot start to this truncated season.
In 27 plate appearances in 2020, Dexter Fowler has a slash line of .308/.333/.538 with two home runs and a BABIP of .350. That second home run was critical in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 3-1 win in the first game of the doubleheader Monday over Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs.
Now let’s say you surveyed about 100 Cardinals fans before the restart of the season and only gave them the following information above, who would the majority of these 100 random fans say had those statistics?
Paul Goldschmidt? Paul DeJong? Maybe Tyler O’Neill? Nope, it’s Dexter Fowler.
What makes Fowler’s start to the season surprising, aside from his age (34) and the competition from the various young outfielders (O’Neill, Bader, Carlson, etc.) is how Statcast is tracking his performance at the plate. According to Fowler’s Statcast Batting Statistics, his exit velocity is hovering around 80 MPH and his Hard Hit % is only 18.8%.
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So how is Fowler getting off to this good start?
The answer is really simple. He’s putting the ball in play, even if there’s a little batted ball luck. As the great Hall of Famer William “Wee Willie” Keeler said, “Hit ‘em where they aint!” Case in point: Fowler got two hits off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito that did not even reach an exit velocity of 70 MPH, yet they fell for singles.
Fowler is in his fourth year of a five-year, $82M deal with the club. So far, the deal has left a lot to be desired. many Cardinals fans are left wondering if Fowler has anything left in the tank. This start to the season gives him leverage to keep playing right field at a time where he’s competing with the younger outfielders.
With the batted ball luck that Fowler is getting, it is a fair question to ask whether he will keep this up for an extended period. I am personally inclined to think not because every player goes through different ebbs and flows of the season. Yet for the trials and tribulations Dexter Fowler has gone through in St. Louis, I couldn’t be happier for him.