The Colorado Rockies have waited and waited for outfielder Dexter Fowler to become a star.
Last season the center fielder showed flashes while batting .300 for the first time in his career. He also had 13 home runs with 53 RBI.
This season he has become even better.
The Rockies’ leadoff hitter has been scorching since the beginning of the season. Fowler, who was drafted in the 14th round in 2004, hit a two homers in Friday’s win over the San Diego Padres to bring his team-high total to five. He also has driven in nine runs early in the season which is also a team high.
Fowler was the Rockies’ top prospect in 2008. That year he played in the All-Star Futures Game and also played for the United States in the Beijing Olympics. He also tore up Double-A that season when with he hit .337 with 20 stolen bases for the Tulsa Drillers, as well as hitting nine homers that season in the minors. The Rockies thought they had their center fielder for the next 10 years.
Fowler’s first couple years in the big leagues did not go as he or the Rockies planned. He struck out way too many times to be hiting first in the lineup. Over 100 strikeouts a season is too much for a leadoff man, and he did that in his first four full seasons. The average was also not great as it hovered around .260 his first four seasons.
In the offseason the Rockies, who were in need of a starting pitching upgrade, put Fowler on the trading block. They received some calls, but the Rockies still felt Fowler had high value and wanted a big package for him. The Rockies never received what they wanted and they moved on with Fowler. Now it is paying off.
Fowler is a perfect fit for the Rockies and especially Coors Field. His defense in center fielder has never been questioned. He covers a lot of ground which is key in spacious Coors Field. Pairing him with Carlos Gonzalez in left give the Rockies a speed outfielder that can chase down a lot of fly balls.
The Rockies made the right decision in keeping Fowler. He is turning into the star they thought they had in 2008. If he keeps hitting home runs he may not stay hitting first in manager Walt Weiss’ lineup. No matter where he hits, the Rockies have a great nucleus in Troy Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and Fowler. The future is brighter for the Rockies than some may think.