Dexter Fowler is headed to Cardinals, after they inked him to a five year deal today. What is the fantasy fallout from the move heading into 2017?
Dexter Fowler bet on himself, and won. A year after turning down a multiyear deal from the Orioles and deciding to go back to Chicago, he struck gold today by inking a 5 yr./$80 mill. deal with the Cardinals. After spearheading the Cubs’ attack last season, what will his fantasy impact be in St. Louis next season?
A widely understated part of the Cubs’ championship run last season, was the move to bring Fowler back before the season started. He proved to be instrumental in leading Chicago’s offense, and set the tone of both sides of the ball. He would up finishing the season with a, .276/13 HR/48 RBI/13 SB/84 R/.840 OPS, line.
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We covered Fowler and his impending free agency back in November, but now that he is in St. Louis, his value is stabilized. The Cards do not sport the same type of lineup the Cubs do, but they have enough at the top of the order to offer Fowler plenty of counting stat opportunities.
Taking a look back on his batted ball data, he raised his LD rate to 24%, dropped his GB rate to 41%, and has become a near lock for a 35% FB rate. He also maintained a 50%+ Med contact rate, and raised his Hard contact rate to 31% in 2016.
He would have set career highs across the board, but a hamstring injury cost him time. Injuries have been a theme of his career, and fantasy owners will always have to factor that into drafting him. One perk of him moving to St. Louis, besides the familiarity with the division, is that he has excelled at Busch Stadium. Over 36 games there, he has posted a, .282/6 HR/ 14 RBI/.858 OPS line, a solid clip knowing that he will play his home games there.
From a St. Louis perspective, this helps the team in multiple areas. While Fowler’s defensive ratings are debated, he is still solid in CF. This will also allow Randal Grichuk to LF, helping the defense all the way around. This move also helps out the fantasy value of Matt Carpenter, who should slide to the 3-hole, opening the door for him to become a even more viable run producer.
Chicago has enough depth to survive a loss at nearly position, and they have Jon Jay and Albert Almora Jr., as a suitable a platoon combo to replace Fowler’s production. The only real question is, who will leadoff? Ben Zobrist seems like the most logical choice, but there are some rumblings that Kyle Schwarber could be slotted up there as well. It will certainly be interesting to see how that plays out heading into next season.
A year after the Cubs lured Jason Heyward and John Lackey away from St, Louis, the Cards finally got their revenge today. Dexter Fowler will remain a OF3 level fantasy talent, and he should be given a boost in those leagues that reward OPS. Target him once again on draft day.