I was looking through ESPN's stat pages and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw from Dexter Fowler. He had a disappointing start to the season, and I've been pretty hard on him so far. But I was surprised to find out that he's having a very nice rookie year in pretty much every statistical category, and I see him going nowhere but up. If he develops properly (ha, using the word "develops" for a guy with 345 ABs on a contending team, but I digress), he could become one of the premiere lead-off hitters in the game.So let's look at his baseline stats. He's hitting .264/.362/.403 in 103 games so far this season with, like I said earlier, 345 ABs. Those numbers alone are pretty decent for a rookie, but they get better as you look deeper. The NL average OBP for lead-off hitters is .330. Dex is already producing above most of the rest of the league in that regard. When batting first in the order, Dex's OBP is .355. That's great production compared to the rest of the league, especially for a rookie. It's a little different when you look at the splits for the first at-bat of the game, as this is where you'd want to see your lead-off hitter shine, but the NL average OBP is .313 compared to Dex's .262. When you look at Dex vs. NL for OBP when leading off an inning, the score looks like .299 to .322. We can forgive him that though, as the league average includes guys who hit a lot better than most guys batting first in the order anyways, so the number is a little skewed.
His speed is great. His 26 stolen bases are good for third place in the NL, but his 9 CS put him in a three-way tie for third-most as well. As his baserunning instincts mature and he gains a little more experience, expect his BS% to increase.
Now on to the interesting stats. Dex's 55 walks are tied for 16th in the league (who's 17th, you ask? Todd Helton, of course!). Those 55 walk are also, if I'm looking at the list correctly, tops among NL rookies. His BB/PA ratio of .133 is also good for 15th in the league. But his BB/K ratio is 0.57, good for 42nd in the league.
Really, the only thing he needs to work on are his too-frequent strikeouts. His GB/FB ratio is 0.89, good for 27th in the league, which is pretty good for a guy with the speed to turn a few of those slow grounders into infield singles. His SO total, by the way, is 07, tied for seventh in the league. It's a shame he strikes out so much, because his BABIP is a jaw-dropping .352, compared to the NL average of .298.
So what does this mean? It means he strikes out a lot, walks a lot, steals a lot of bases, and hits pretty well for a number one guy. When he makes contact, it goes in the air more than you'd like, but when he does make contact it's usually a good sign. I mean, come on, now. That BABIP is good for 13th in the league. This makes sense; after all, the higher the SO total, the higher the BABIP. The more you strike out, the less balls you are putting into play. Once Dex gets his SOs under control, he will be a premiere guy for batting at the top of the order.