BBB 2017 Top Prospect Countdown #11: Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler is a 22 year-old left handed outfielder. The Yankees drafted him in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB amateur draft. Fowler is from Dexter, Georgia; where he starred at West Laurens High School. The Yankees selected Fowler based on his superior defense and base running.
Photo Credit: Martin Griff

Breakdown:

As I wrote about Fowler earlier in the year, he may be the most under the radar prospect in the entire Yankees farm system. Not often does an 18th round draft pick get much spotlight, but his performance and development says it's time to start paying attention to him. ESPN’s Keith Law named Fowler as a dark horse to bust into the top 100 prospect rankings by the end of 2017. Fowler is an interesting prospect, because he is capable of doing a little bit of everything. As I said initially, his defense is superior. He can play all three outfield positions and has a good enough arm to be above average at all three. 

Offensively is where his major development has occurred. Scouts believed when he was drafted, he’d be no more than a platoon outfielder or a defensive replacement in the majors. But his minor league offensive numbers have said otherwise. Last year with Double-A Trenton Fowler hit .281 with 12 home runs and 25 stolen bases. Those are extremely solid numbers for a player whose defense has always been his strong suit. Fowler’s only knock is his walk rate. His 22 walks or 5.2 walk ratio is way too low for a player with his speed. While he did have a career low 17.2% strikeout rate, his walk rate needs to be closer to 10% for him to truly reach his potential as a dual power and speed threat in the major leagues. 

Projection:

2017 is going to be a crucial year for Fowler. In 2016 we saw him add power to his repertoire, and it completely changed the outlook of his projection. Fowler is never going to hit 50 homeruns or steal 50 bases. But if he can work on that walk rate, keep his strikeouts down, and continue to develop his power; we may be looking at a guy who could go somewhere in between 20/20 or 30/30 steals and homeruns. 

I also believe that if he is permanently moved to a corner outfield position he can be an elite defensive player a la Alex Gordon or Jason Heyward. His speed and arm is solid in centerfield, but would make him one of the best in the corners. Everyone is clamoring for Clint Frazier in 2017, and rightfully so, but Fowler is a guy that should be getting more attention. On most teams, you could argue that he would be a top five prospect, but due to the Yankees loaded system, he doesn't quite crack the top 10. I predict that's going to change in 2017.

Article by: Jesse Bartley

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