Manager Clint Hurdle confirmed today after the Rockies-White Sox game that the fleet 23-year-old center fielder will be on the 25-man roster to begin the 2009 season.
Fowler, one of the organization's prized prospects, becomes the rare Rockie who makes the quantum leap from Double-A ball to the majors. The last Rockie to do it was shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Fowler has hit .292/.342/.415 this spring and he's stolen six bases. Those rates might not seem exceptional, but he got off to a poor start (10 Ks in his first 20 at-bats per the Post), then obviously rebounded nicely. The switch-hitter hasn't homered yet, though he does have six doubles.
You shouldn't expect too much power in the short term, but Fowler has 101 career stolen bases in 334 minor league games. He's also an exceptional defensive centerfielder, which counts for a lot when A) you play your home games in Coors Field, and B) you've got a couple defense-dependent pitchers in the rotation.
Fowler was already on the map for dynasty and NL-only owners, of course, and Evans gave him a full Farm Aid tonguebath (metaphorically speaking). Consider this a reminder.
Seth Smith owners -- they exist, particularly in NL-only leagues -- should be rather concerned. There's no way Colorado intends to let Fowler sit too often. Ryan Spilborghs has had an outstanding spring, and he's also done time at every outfield spot. He can slide over to left, relieve Smith of his job, and allow Fowler to patrol center.
Fowler's starts could come against left-handed pitchers, with Spilborghs moving to left field. Hurdle said he'll bat Fowler first or second when he starts. When he doesn't start, Fowler has a clear opportunity for time late in games when the Rockies need his defense.
(Harding didn't break out the boldness. That was me).
For now, Fowler isn't a must-add in mixed leagues. But he's a must-watch.
Photo via AP Images