Ok, maybe the terminology is he’s a five tool player.
But what is a five tool player?
Intrigued by the question by King of Cali about, “How is he with the bat and on the field,” I wanted to touch base on this notion of a five tool player.
The five tools in no particular order are: 1) Fielding ability, 2) hitting for average, 3) hitting for power, 4) running speed, and 5) arm strength.
Before this year, Dexter Fowler had briefly touched the major leagues in late 2008 when he was called up. The most highly ranked prospect of the Rockies at the time, Fowler did little in the 13 games he played in.
Enter spring training 2009 and the belief was he had an outside shot at making the squad from Double-A ball. More than likely he would be refining his skills at Triple-A for the first time. Not so fast.
Fowler has recalled in interviews, even he did not know until the final day of spring training, he would get the call up. Why? Well, it goes back to those five tools.
The Rockies are facing a virtual traffic jam of talent coming up through the system. Players like Ian Stewart, who could be a starter at numerous positions in the majors, are playing the reserve role along with Fowler.
Is this a bad thing? No.
Dexter Fowler has been widely regarded as a top prospect for more than a few years now. By refining those five tools, he will inevitably be a starter.
Dexter Fowler by Tom Walsh
Running– By far his best asset, the old adage “speed never has a bad day” applies here. As of today, Fowler is tied for second in the majors for stolen bases with nine. The two players in front of him have done it in 85 and 74 at bats while Fowler, a reserve, has done it in 58. If he were starting that number may be exponentially higher.
Fielding ability– I’ve been to enough games this year to be amazed at the outfield running ability of Fowler. Just when you think a ball is too far and it’s extra bases, he makes up ground robbing yet another hit. He is a rookie and will make some rookie errors in the outfield, but to this point in the year he has a .980 Fld% and only one error.
Hitting for average– Currently he is hitting .310 in 17 games with a .394 OBP. I don’t think that is anything to harp about.
Hitting for power– His first homerun in the bigs came on the first pitch of the game in Arizona, the opening series. I barely had time to sit down before I had to watch the ball sail over the outfield wall. This season he has two homeruns total, and if there was any tool that may end up being the weakest, it could this. He has four doubles on the year, but his speed has helped him stretch many singles, so I don’t fully count that in power. If he ended up at or around the 25 HR mark, I’d say he’s successful.
Arm strength– His arm is definitely a weapon and although he may not be recognized for having a cannon, in his short time in the outfield he has 49 put outs in 51 chances. I don’t see his arm strength ever really coming into question or opposing teams looking to challenge his throws. I personally saw the pain from a fan who was whacked by a ball thrown by Dex. It packed a punch!
So to answer King’s question- he’s a five tool player, whom with enough time and experience, could end up being a force in this league for many years to come. He’s exciting to watch now and I can’t wait to see what his future holds.