Loading scores...
Magazine Content

Deep Pickups 4/30: Hitters

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Dexter Fowler, OF - CHC

In six MLB seasons, Fowler has established himself as a quality outfielder who can cover ground in the field while contributing in a variety of ways offensively. His .276/.366/.419 career slash line speaks to his ability to get on base while hitting for solid power, and his total of 99 steals -- with double digits every year -- speaks to his ability to run once he's aboard.

Many expected that Fowler would experience a major power decline last year when he left Colorado and Coors Field to join the Astros, and while he did post a career-low .399 slugging percentage, he still managed eight homers with 21 doubles and four triples. Not bad at all, especially with offense declining across the league.

One trend that has been frustrating in Fowler's career is his declining output in the speed categories. At age 29, he can still run well, but he hasn't come close to the 27 steals he tallied back in 2009, his rookie season. He also hasn't notched 10-plus triples since 2012 after doing so in each of his first four seasons.

Fortunately, there are some early signs that Fowler's wheels will pay more dividends this year in Chicago.

Already the Cubs' leadoff man is 6-for-7 on steal attempts this season, putting him on pace for 49. That pace will surely slow down but it does bode well. He also already has two triples in his first 19 games after totaling four last year and three in 2013.

In most ways, Fowler has been his typical self, with an 814 OPS and strong defense in center. If he keeps running as he has early on, he'll offer plenty of value in deep and standard leagues alike. Plus, the Cubs have upgraded the middle of their lineup by adding Kris Bryant, which may help Fowler cross the plate more frequently.

Odubel Herrera, OF - PHI

With no real thoughts of contending this year, the Phillies have been able to get a little experimental with some of their roster and lineup decisions. One such choice was handing an everyday job to Herrera, a 23-year-old who had not taken a single at-bat in the majors -- nor even Triple-A -- prior to this season.

The Phillies acquired Herrera from Texas in the Rule 5 draft, meaning that in order to keep him around they needed him to stay on the roster all season. They've taken that a step further, starting him in center field in 18 straight games and even batting him at the top of the lineup regularly.

For his part, the young outfielder has responded quite well to the opportunity. He's got hits in 15 of 18 games since stepping in as an everyday starter after the first week of the season, and overall he's batting .304 with six doubles, two triples and four steals in five tries.

The overall offensive numbers will almost certainly come down to Earth considering his inexperience and his lack of eye-popping production in the minors, but Herrera's speed should stand as an enduring fantasy asset. He averaged 21 steals in six minor-league seasons and while he doesn't have much home run pop, he's been solid in the doubles and triples categories.

Don't buy too much into the hot start, but even when he cools down Herrera will still have a lot to offer.

Nick Nelson
Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.