The Yankees outfield prospect Dustin Fowler wasn’t someone who lit up the radar right away and sometimes can even be forgotten in a clubhouse that’s surrounded by talent. He’s a quiet guy that keeps to himself but when he steps on to the field he’s pure electricity.
Fowler was drafted by the Yankees in the 13th round of the 2013 draft. He resides from Cadwell, Georgia and attended West Laurens High School.
Fowler spent his first two seasons in the Yankees organization trying to find his way but finally broke out in his 2015 season and across two levels he hit .298 with 5 homeruns. He followed that up with a dynamic 2016 season for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
For the Thunder, Fowler hit .281 and hit 12 bombs. That also includes 15 triples, 88 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases. His excellent work saw him jumping up the Yankees top prospect list, making it all the way up to the 8 spot for 2017.
“This is the first time I’m managing (Fowler),” RailRider Manager Al Pedrique said. “He had a great year last year and the more he goes out there and plays the game the more his confidence level gets higher.”
Fowler has been touted as having the ability to hit for power and average plus steal some bases. His speed and decision making in the outfield also makes him immediately stand out on the field. Just this year alone he has made plays in the outfield that have made anyone in attendance watch in awe.
“If you’re a speedy guy and you’re capable of getting good jumps and taking good routes then it’s going to be fun to watch and he’s shown that so far,” Pedrique said. “When he’s in center field he gets to balls other center fielders wouldn’t be able to. He’s done a great job so far.”
Fowler’s big caveat, depending on who you talk to, is his plate discipline. He’s always been known as an aggressive hitter and that is something the Yankees have asked him to improve on. He’s still looking to see more pitches at the plate but so far there hasn’t been any improvement on the strikeouts.
“The (AAA pitchers) are going to throw a lot of off speed pitches in fastball counts and that’s one thing as a hitter (Fowler) needs to realize and he needs to adjust to how he’s getting pitched,” Pedrique said.
Last season for Trenton, Fowler struck out 86 times (his career high is 90). This season at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, Fowler already has 63 strikeouts with half of the season still left. While that might be high, Pedrique doesn’t see this as a problem.
“For me, it’s not a big concern if players strike out a lot,” Pedrique said. “As long as they’re aggressive that’s how they’re going to understand the strike zone and how they’ll get consistent.”
Pedrique also said he believes sometimes chasing bad pitches and swinging at good pitches can help you learn the strike zone as a young hitter. He did make note of how hard Fowler has worked to improve on his patients and he sees him improving.
“He’s a young guy and each time he goes out you can see he’s a guy that enjoys the game and has a lot of confidence in himself,” Pedrique said. “The only thing we can expect from him now and to the end of the year is to be consistent.”
While he isn’t a completely finished product, Fowler is probably the most major-league-ready prospect in the entire Yankees organization. When he finally steps on to the major league diamond he will instantly be a dynamic force.