Has Dexter Fowler finally figured things out?
Fowler has been up and down with the Rockies over the last three years, given every chance possible to stick as the long-term center fielder in Colorado. He looked well on his way toward that goal, hitting .266/.363/.406 in his first extended big-league stint, but has been sliding backward ever since.
Fowler was demoted to the minors in early June with a disappointing .238/.340/.348 line and continued his poor season down in Triple-A.
"I wasn't really looking over my shoulder as much as looking inside myself like, 'What's going on?' " Fowler said of his struggles, according to the Denver Post. "It's just a matter of trusting in what God has given me and going on from there. If I do that, everything will take care of itself."
But even a Carlos Gonzalez injury that resulted in a return to Colorado didn't help Fowler get going -- until a suggestion by hitting coach Carney Lansford, who suggested Fowler start using a leg kick.
"What he was doing, he had no chance," Lansford said. "He was having trouble getting the ball out of the infield. I asked [bench coach] Tommy Runnells, 'What can we do with this guy?' and he said, 'Let's try a leg kick. Let's see if it gets him back to where he can attack the ball.' And it just clicked with him right away."
Since incorporating a leg kick, Fowler has registered nine hits in 16 at-bats, delivering two doubles and three triples. Obviously, it's way too early to tell whether Fowler has re-invented himself, but the early prognosis is good.
"I was in the second group of early BP and [Lansford] said, 'Hey, try this,' so I tried it," Fowler said. "It's kind of gone on from there. Spilly [Ryan Spilborghs] was joking with me. He said, 'I've been doing a leg kick for four years and you just pick it up and start raking?' "
Fowler also credits a more relaxed approach with his new success, saying the demotion helped him focus.
"I'm relaxing more, just seeing the ball and hitting it," Fowler said. "I was thinking in the box too much, putting too much pressure on myself. I know I can hit. It was just a matter of seeing the ball and clearing my mind."Fowler's resurgence is great news, but let's keep in mind we're only talking about 16 at-bats. Even baseball's worst hitter -- whether that be Chone Figgins, Alcides Escobar or someone else of your choosing -- can put together a respectable 16 at-bats together. More important is what he contributes moving forward.
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