The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a trade with the Oakland Athletics for former top prospect Dustin Fowler in exchange for cash considerations.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have added more outfield depth by trading cash considerations for Dustin Fowler. Fowler was formerly a top prospect for the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics. Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic announced the news earlier on Twitter:
Fowler ranked as a top 100 prospect in baseball back in 2017-2018. At the end of 2017, he was ranked as the 67th best prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. Going into 2018, he was considered a top 100 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. Fowler showed some speed and pop early in his career, having double digits in home runs and stolen bases at the minor league level in 2016 and 2017.
He was sent to the Oakland A’s during the 2017 deadline in the blockbuster deal that sent Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees. Fowler was packaged with other prospects at the time, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprilelian. However, he did play one game with the Yankees before the trade but injured his knee in during his first inning as a major league outfielder. This knee injury kept him out the remainer of the 2017 season.
Fowler was given a chance to start with the A’s in 2018 he was unable to establish himself at the Major League level. Through 203 plate appearances, the lefty swinger only hit .224/.256/.354 with a .263 wOBA and 67 wRC+. He also struggled heavily with the glove having -7 DRS, -2.7 range runs above average and -15.3 UZR/150 in just 403.1 innings in the grass.
He didn’t appear in a single MLB game in 2019 and spent the entire year at the A’s Triple-A affiliate. While he did have a .277/.333/.477 line with 25 home runs and a dozen stolen bases,his offensive contributions are a bit misleading.
Fowler only had a 93 wRC+ through his 606 plate appearances. This was because he played in the Pacific Coast League which was extremely offensive heavy in 2019. It also didn’t help he had a sub-par 6.9% walk rate and 23.9% strikeout rate. He also didn’t appear in the majors during 2020 either.
Still, the former prospect is only entering his age-26 season. Throughout all 2639 minor league plate appearances, Fowler has a .286/.324/.462 line, 68 home runs and a .342 wOBA. It was only a few years ago he was considered one of the better outfield prospects in baseball. Fowler has primarly played center field throughout his career.
Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates centerfield situation sees prospects Jared Oliva, Anthony Alford and minor league signee Brian Goodwin battling it out for the final outfield spot. It’s a low risk deal to bring in Fowler as a potential contender for the center field job or a 4th outfield job.