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Tipping a cap to Dexter Fowler

Colorado Rockies news and links for Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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On Tuesday afternoon, former Colorado Rockies centerfielder Dexter Fowler announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after a storied 14-year career. “It’s here. I’m hanging up my cleats,” Fowler said on his social media accounts.

Dexter Fowler was selected by the Rockies out of Milton High School in Milton, Georgia in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB draft. He turned down an offer from Harvard and ended his commitment with the University of Miami in order to sign with the Rockies at age 18 for $925,000.

Dexter Fowler - First 4 MiLB Seasons

2005 Casper Rockies (Rookie) 62 252 220 43 60 10 4 4 23 18 6 27 73 .273 .357 .409
2006 Asheville Tourists (A) 99 458 405 92 120 31 6 8 46 43 23 43 79 .296 .373 .462
2007 Modesto Nuts (A+) 65 299 245 43 67 7 5 2 23 20 11 44 64 .274 .397 .367
2008 Tulsa Drillers (AA) 108 505 421 92 141 31 9 9 64 20 8 65 89 .335 .431 .515

Fowler enjoyed success over his first four professional seasons in the Rockies’ minor league system. He flashed his elite speed by stealing a combined 101 bases and legging out 24 triples. He also showed off a keen ability to get on base. In four seasons he never had an on-base percentage below .350 and drew walks at a strong clip. He also only struck out more than 80 times once. Fowler found himself in top 100 prospect rankings from 2007 onward. Baseball America ranked him no. 48, no. 74, and no. 15 prior to the 2007, 2008, and 2009 seasons respectively.

In 2008 with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers Dexter Fowler truly enjoyed a breakout season. He led the Drillers in on-base percentage and had the second best batting average over 108 games while hitting 31 doubles, nine triples, and stealing 20 bases. His performance got him noticed on an international scale. He was selected to play for Team USA in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics alongside fellow Rockies prospect Jayson Nix. Fowler was the starting centerfielder for Team USA and slashed .250/.300/.429 in 28 at-bats. He drew two walks and had two RsBI while hitting two doubles and a triple, helping Team USA to a bronze medal finish behind Cuba and South Korea.

The Rockies called Fowler straight up from Double-A late in the 2008 season. He made his big league debut as a pinch runner on September 2nd and got both his first career start and first career hit on September 10th. Fowler played 13 games in his cup of coffee.

After an impressive spring training in which he hit .291/.356/.430 with seven doubles, two triples, and eight stolen bases, Fowler earned himself a spot on the 2009 Opening Day 25-man roster and eventually took hold as the starting center fielder. He finished eighth in National League Rookie of the Year voting after a strong campaign where he slashed .266/.363/.406 in 135 games. He hit a wild ten triples and stole 27 bases to establish himself as the team’s premiere speedster.

After Fowler struggled somewhat in September after a knee injury and hit just .229 with only one stolen base during spring training in 2010, he hit just .216/.327/.317 through the first 47 games of the season and was sent down to the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He hit .340/.436/.566 with four triples and two home runs during his 27-game get-right assignment before rejoining the Rockies full time. Fowler was excellent for the rest of the season by hitting .280/.357/.453 with 11 more triples to set the Rockies single-season triples record at 14.

Dexter Fowler would be the Rockies’ Opening Day centerfielder the next three seasons from 2011-2013. He set the single season triples record again in 2011 with 15 and hit a total of 29 over those three years while also hitting 30 home runs, stealing 43 bases, and posting an OPS of .812. He became a fan favorite at Coors Field for his infectious smile and some truly amazing moments.

He lost his glove over the center field wall while the Rockies visited the Kansas City Royals. He hopped the fence to retrieve it while the crowd cheered him on.

He made an astonishing catch to save Ubaldo Jiménez’ no-hitter.

He leap-frogged Chase Utley in game four of the 2009 NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies to give Rockies fans some hope.

Philadelphia Phillies v Colorado Rockies, Game 4 Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In his six seasons with the Rockies Dexter Fowler cemented his legacy. He ranks in the franchise top ten for walks, on-base percentage, and stolen bases. He also held the franchise record for triples until just this year when he was dethroned by Charlie Blackmon. He was also the first center fielder in franchise history to be the most commonly used player at the position for more than two seasons. Fowler posted a positive rWAR in five consecutive seasons as the Rockies’ primary center fielder. Charlie Blackmon had four, but the Rockies have not had the same starting center fielder consecutively in any of the last four seasons. Fowler was the first Rockies player to truly own Coors Field’s cavernous center field.

Unfortunately, his tenure with the Rockies would come to an end. In December of 2013 the Rockies traded Fowler to the Houston Astros for pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes. After one season in Houston he was off to the Windy City. With the Chicago Cubs he was an All-Star and a World Champion. He spent four successful seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and spent one year with the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels would be his last big league stop, in which an ACL tear prematurely ended his season.

Cubs fans will remember him from their World Series victory. Cardinals fans will look fondly on his time there. Rockies fans, however, knew him first. They will remember his bright and gigantic smile lighting up the outfield at Coors or as he rocketed around the bases.

Congratulations on one hell of a career, Sexy Dexy. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

It was announced yesterday that Fowler would be joining the Chicago Cubs broadcast team as a studio analyst.

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MLB offseason grades for all 30 teams: Who got the highest (and lowest) marks? | The Athletic

The writers over at The Athletic grade every MLB team based on what they’ve accomplished so far this offseason. The Rockies... do not fare well. As Nick Groke puts it “you can’t judge ‘Citizen Cane’ and ‘Dumb and Dumber’ by the same criteria.” Ouch.

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