Dexter Fowler in 2012

Dexter Fowler and the Rockies agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.35 million to avoid arbitration. Don't worry, this isn't anything like the one-year deal that was given to Seth Smith which ended with him being traded to the Oakland Athletics within 12 hours. Nope, the Rockies plan to keep Fowler for at least one more season. The Rockies expect a breakout season from Dexter in 2012, and I agree, but there are a few things that Dexter needs to work on for his 2012 breakout season to become a reality.

I'm a huge fan of Dexter's defense, and I believe he's one of top defensive outfielders in the game, but his offense needs a little work. I'm not completely sold on Dexter Fowler as a switch hitter. I'd prefer if he'd hit strictly from the left side of the plate to get that quicker first step out of the box so he can utilize his speed. His average from the right side of the plate is twenty points lower than from the left and his BAbip (Batting average on balls in play) is close to 100 points lower. That means he's not getting good contact from the right side of the plate. If he continues to switch hit, then he needs to focus on base hits and walks because he isn't a power hitter, even though at times his swing suggests he's the second coming of Mickey Mantle. He does have an impressive on-base percentage (Career OBP .355), so I'm not suggesting that it's bad in the previous sentence. I'm only suggesting that he needs to focus on being a leadoff hitter if he's expected to be a leadoff hitter. As a leadoff hitter, it's your job to get on base and create opportunities for the power hitters to drive you in. Dexter had trouble stealing bases last season, which is another expectation for the leadoff hitter. Not only do stolen bases put the player in a better position to score, but it also gets into the head of the pitcher on the mound. Instead of the pitcher being focused on making the right pitch to a Cargo or a Tulo, he's focused on keeping Dexter Fowler from stealing second base. Last season, Dexter only stole 12 bases on 21 attempts. That's not a good enough ratio for a leadoff hitter.

For Dexter and the Rockies to have success in 2012, Dexter needs to approach his at-bats as a leadoff hitter instead of a clean-up hitter. Take pitches, slap the ball into the holes, and steal bases. Dexter is a very athletic player, and he has the opportunity to wear out teams with his speed and patient hitting. I hope he takes advantage of the opportunity.

Dexter's a great kid and I wish him nothing but the best! I'm a believeR!

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