DUSTIN FOWLER, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: December 29, 1994
Drafted: 18th Round, 554th Overall, 2013 (Yankees)
How Acquired: Trade with Athletics (for cash)
High School: West Laurens HS (Dexter, GA)
WTM’s PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|The Yankees signed Fowler to an above-slot bonus out of prep school due to a combination of power potential and speed. He runs well enough to stay in center, although it hasn’t made him an efficient base stealer. His arm is about average. At the plate, Fowler is very impatient, with unusually low walk rates. The power has appeared at times, although not consistently. He hasn’t had noteworthy platoon splits. Fowler suffered a bad knee injury in his first major league game and it’s hard to say how it might have affected him since. The Pirates acquired Fowler from Oakland for cash.
Fowler didn’t do much in his debut beyond showing some gap power.
The Yankees assigned Fowler to low A in mid-May and he played there the rest of the year. He did miss some time in July and August. His hitting was about the same as in rookie ball except his power improved.
New York sent Fowler back to low A and he hit much better over the first half of the season, although with less power and continued poor plate discipline. He hit reasonably well after a mid-season promotion to the pitching-dominated Florida State League. For the full season, Fowler had a platoon split of 130 OPS points. Baseball America rated him New York’s tenth best prospect after the season.
Fowler put together a strong season, although still with almost no patience. He had an extreme reverse platoon split. Fowler ran a lot but with a mediocre success rate. BA again rated him tenth in the system.
Fowler continued to improve in the International League, with much-increased power. His platoon split was minimal. The Yankees called him up at the end of June and, in his first game and before he got an at-bat, he ruptured a tendon in his right knee running into an exposed electrical box along the right field wall in a road game against the White Sox. That cost him the rest of the year. Just a month later, though, the Yankees sent Fowler to Oakland in a deadline deal for Sonny Gray. BA rated him fourth in the Oakland system after the season.
Oakland sent Fowler to AAA to start the season, then called him up in May. He spent the rest of the season in the majors, except for the month of August. He hit very well in AAA, but his poor control of the strike zone cost him in the majors. He played mostly in center with the A’s.
Fowler went back to AAA for the entire season. He nearly doubled his career high for home runs, but his hitting numbers weren’t impressive as they look; he was playing in the high-offense Pacific Coast League in a year when the AAA leagues used a much livelier ball than before. The PCL as a whole batted 277/354/477 and Fowler’s team, Las Vegas, hit 298/371/531.
Fowler was assigned to Oakland’s training site during the pandemic season, but did not get called up.
Fowler has no options left. That probably gave him an advantage over Brian Goodwin in the battle for an outfield spot, as he hit very little in spring training. He’ll open the season as the Pirates’ fourth outfielder and could get some time in center.
UPDATE: Fowler struggled with the Pirates, posting just a .434 OPS and striking out in half his at-bats. They designated him for assignment in late April. He cleared waivers and was assigned to the alternate training site.
|2021: Minor League Salary
|Signing Bonus: $278,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: 6/29/2017
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible: 2026
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 6/29/2017 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2018, 2019, 2020)
MLB Service Time: 1.039
|June 8, 2013: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 18th round, 554th overall pick; signed on July 10.
June 29, 2017: Contract purchased by the New York Yankees.
July 31, 2017: Traded by the New York Yankees with James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo to the Oakland Athletics for Sonny Gray and $1,500,000 in international signing bonus pool money.
February 22, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics.
February 24, 2021: Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.
April 22, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on April 28.