International League Player of the Week – OF Dustin Fowler – Yankees
Fowler Hit for Cycle Sunday
One of the hardest things to do in baseball is to hit for the cycle. So many players get close, but most go their careers without ever doing it. We’ve seen it done a couple of times over the last couple of weeks which is rare. In the International League it happened Sunday. Dustin Fowler of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, did it in his final at-bat, propelling his team to a walk-off win over the Indianapolis Indians. It wasn’t just that but his week as a whole, helping name Fowler the Legends on Deck International League Player of the Week.
After starting the week 0-for-4, Fowler turned things around going 11-for-22 the rest of the way. He hit three doubles, two triples, and two home runs, while driving in five, walking three times, and scoring four runs of his own.
There were plenty of other players under consideration for this weekly award, but it was hard not to give it to Fowler.
The New York Yankees selected Fowler in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB draft. He was taken out of high school and signed for $278,000 which leads one to believe the Yankees like his ability and upside. They haven’t been disappointed so far and have to be thrilled with the way he’s progressed since becoming a professional.
Fowler started his career playing for the Gulf Coast Yankees as high school draft picks often do. It wasn’t until the 2015 season that Fowler put the Yankees on notice. He began the season with Class-A Charleston who he played for the previous year. Playing half the year at that level, Fowler was promoted to the Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees in June. At both levels he hit a combined .298 with 145 hits in 123 games. He is known for his speed and defense more so than his power right now. He added 30 stolen bases to his 2015 campaign.
After a successful 2015 season in the minors and an eye-opening Arizona Fall League season, the Yankees promoted Fowler to Double-A Trenton for 2016. The 21-year old had to have made New York’s front office salivate a little. In 132 game with the Thunder, Fowler hit .281 with 12 home runs and 88 RBI. He led the league in triples with 15 and added 25 stolen bases. If there is one area that Fowler can work on its walks. He walked just 22 times in 574 plate appearances which is rated awful by FanGraphs. His 15% strikeout percentage is above average with is very promising.
Moving through the system in a natural progression, Fowler made his way to Triple-A as a 22-year old. This season so far his hitting line is .293/.341/.573/.914, his walks are up slightly which is good, but so are his strikeouts at a minimally higher percentage. MLB.com had Fowler ranked #10 before the season started, but he has now moved into the #8 slot.
Congratulations to Dustin Fowler on a tremendous week and to being named Legends on Deck International League Player of the Week.
As I mentioned before there were plenty of players to consider for this award. Here is a look at a few of the deserving candidates.
Mike Bolsinger of the Buffalo Bisons picked up a win this week and threw five innings giving up three hits while striking out six. Bolsinger didn’t surrender a walk and also didn’t give up any runs. Charlotte Knights Zack Burdi picked up a save this week appearing in two games. He didn’t allow a walk, hit, or run, and struck out four in his three innings of work. Patrick Leonard of the Durham Bulls went 12-for-22 scoring five times, with three doubles, a homer, and four driven in.
Gwinnett Braves starter Sean Newcomb did all he could do for his club but unfortunately they didn’t return the favor. In his two starts this past week, Newcomb didn’t allow a run, gave up just three hits on 12 innings, struck out 17 hitters, but had two no-decisions. Rochester Red Wings’ Jose Berrios had similar numbers (14 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 17 K) but was lucky enough that his offense picked him up giving him a win.
It was another fun and successful week for the International Leauge.