Dexter Fowler entered 2018 fresh off of a solid first season as a Cardinal, one that saw him rack up a .921 OPS for the final four months of the season. Fans were cautiously optimistic about his 2018 output as he shifted to right field, with VEB readers projecting a minor decline from 2.5 fWAR in 2017 to 2.4 in 2018.
He had a rough start to his season, and ended April with a 62 wRC+. As his season further spiraled out of control at the plate, he lost playing time and communication troubles arose with former manager Mike Matheny. Entering the All-Star break, Mike Shildt replaced Matheny and it seemed like a fresh start for Fowler.
The change led to a slight rebound over the next part of his season. His BB% went up four percent, his isolated slugging (ISO) increased from .111 before the stretch to .148 during, and he had an 85 wRC+ compared to just 56 beforehand. He stabilized a little bit.
The rebound ended on August 3rd when he broke his foot mid-game in Pittsburgh. Amazingly, he continued to play on it for a few innings, but the damage was done. His lost season was mercifully finished. His 2018 season wrapped up with a .180/.278/.298 slash line and a 62 wRC+. It all added up to a -1.2 fWAR.
The front office has committed to him as the full-time right fielder, albeit one with a healthy safety net featuring some combination of Tyler O’Neill and Jose Martinez behind him. Both Steamer and ZIPS see a modest rebound, as does PECOTA (subscription required for that last one).
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you expect. Fill out the form below and keep an eye out for the rest of the roster- and the results- in the coming weeks.