When he was in the lineup, Dexter Fowler performed similarly to the last several seasons. The problem continues to be durability as he failed to play more than 125 games for the fourth time in his last five campaigns. Despite playing in a home park that depresses homers for the first time in his career, Fowler set a career high in long balls. On the flip side, largely due to the Cardinals' team tendencies, Fowler failed to swipe double-digit bases for the first time in a full season in the majors. In addition, perhaps due to the move to the more spacious Busch Stadium, the recent gains Fowler exhibited with the leather were given back as his defensive metrics reverted to well below average. Running less, continued health issues and declining defense do not bode well for anyone, but for someone on the wrong side of 30 years old, it limits fantasy potential, especially in mixed leagues.
Manager Mike Matheny said Fowler will probably begin the season as the Cardinals' leadoff hitter, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Fowler opened the 2017 campaign atop the team's order, but he was eventually dropped to third -- with Matt Carpenter taking over as the leadoff man -- after struggling to a .222/.317/.423 line in his first 52 games as the No. 1 hitter. He'll get another shot to prove he can be the tablesetter St. Louis signed to a five-year contract prior to the 2017 campaign. If he sticks atop the order all season, his RBI count may regress closer to his 2016 total while his runs scored should enjoy a nice spike.
Fowler is not in the lineup Sunday against the Brewers. Fowler will sit out his third consecutive game as the Cardinals close out the regular season against Aaron Wilkerson and the Brewers. Harrison Bader takes over in center field, batting fifth.
Fowler is out of Saturday's lineup against the Brewers. He will miss a second straight contest as the Cardinals look to get some of their younger players more reps before the end of the season. Harrison Bader is starting in center field and hitting sixth.
Fowler is not in the lineup Friday against Milwaukee, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Fowler will head to the bench for a day off now that the Cardinals have officially been eliminated from postseason contention. In his place, Tommy Pham slides over to patrol center for the series finale against the Brewers.
Fowler went 3-for-5 with a two-run double, another two-bagger and two runs in Thursday's 8-5 win over the Reds. Fowler's fourth multi-hit effort over the last five contests also included his eighth and ninth RBI over that span. The hot-hitting outfielder has already raised his season average 12 points to .270 in 41 September plate appearances while also generating a .520 wOBA and season-best 46.4 percent hard contact rate in that stretch.