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Rundown: Taste the Rockies; Fowler finally earning his stripes

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

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Scan preseason archives from any fantasy site and chances are Dexter Fowler was repeatedly tabbed a breakout candidate. Warm feelings about the long-legged outfielder were predictable. His post-break statistical usefulness (.280-4-26-41-5) filled the hype machine with plenty of petrol. This was the year, the Rockies' former No. 1 prospect would mature mentally and physically, reaping an across-the-board windfall for all who invested.

Surprise! Fanalysts were dead wrong.

Provided ample opportunities to find his niche, Fowler floundered over the first two months of the season. From opening day until his banishment back to Colorado Springs in early June, he mustered an unexciting .238 BA with zero homers, 18 RBIs, 33 runs and, most disappointingly, three steals. For a player with gazelle-speed, a single-digit SB total over a lengthy timeframe was akin to a slap in the face from Rupert Murdoch's hot, young wife.

Once Fowler was pink-slipped by management, the fantasy community quickly followed suit, condemning the 24-year-old as another Jeremy Hermida.

Down on the farm, the switch-hitter, similar to last year, slowly evolved, taking more pitches and striking out less. His line with the Sky Sox was rather uneventful (97 at-bats, .237-2-9-17-2), but the lessons learned were invaluable. {YSP:MORE}

Recalled just after the break, Fowler appears to have finally found a groove. Yes, it's a tiny snapshot, but his 10-for-28 (six RBIs, 10 runs, three SBs, six extra-base hits) outburst since July 15 is a refreshing step in the right direction. Jim Tracy is pleased with the youngster's advancements, particularly his mechanics. From MLB.com:

"I see a guy in a much better hitting position, simply put, when the ball is entering the hitting area," Tracy said. "I don't see him in a weak, feeble position left-handed as the ball's entering the area. ... We've got to get him in a more potent position …"

"It's just a matter of being comfortable," Fowler said. "It's a matter of relaxing and having fun."

On the basepaths, where Fowler's bread is really buttered, he's also found his comfort zone. Running wild compared to the past, he's abandoned timidity going 3-for-4 in SB attempts. With Carlos Gonzalez on the DL for the next two weeks, the center-fielder will likely see numerous green lights, filling the Rock's void at leadoff. If he can continue to exude consistency, he could finally unlock potential similar to what the magnificently 'stached Travis Snider is currently doing on the junior circuit.

Fowler, available in 84-percent of Yahoo! leagues, is must add material for virtual managers clawing for points in runs and steals.

The fantasy community which cried "Fowl!" over the outfielder less than two months ago needs to bury the hatchet.

Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 198 at-bats, .276 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 38 R, 14 SB

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FLAME O' THE WEEK

Josh Reddick, Bos, OF (10-percent owned): Over the past few days, the Red Sox have been at the forefront of Carlos Beltran trade rumors. But the spark plug's outstanding play may send the coveted Mets outfielder elsewhere. Reddick, who's roped a .320 BA with three homers, nine RBIs and 10 runs since July 1, has officially overtaken walking porcelain doll, J.D. Drew, in right. Though he'll likely see limited action against lefties and bat seventh in the order he should be a fixture on mixed-league rosters. Reddick possesses several attractive characteristics. Equipped with terrific power (.279 ISO) and a watchful high (0.67 K/BB), he will likely produce fruitful yields across four categories (BA, HR, RBI, R), especially given Fenway's short porch in right. Ninety percent available, he is an emerging commodity who has great odds of paying a handsome dividend down the homestretch.

Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 188 at-bats, .286 BA, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 28 R, 2 SB

LAME O' THE WEAK

Mike Moustakas, KC, 3B: The subject of much hyperbole when recalled a month ago, the buzzy third baseman has "Moosed" all who've invested in him. Just 7-for-62 (.113 BA) over the past 21 days, he's driven in a mere four runs with zero homers, prompting "demotion" whispers. Despite the dreadful cold spell, Ned Yost remains committed to the top prospect, for now. With Mike Aviles back with the senior club, the heat on Moustakas to produce has definitely intensified. Embarrassed routinely by lefties (2-35, 0 BB, 8 K), the rookie will continue to sit on occasion. Though "humbled" by the prolonged slide, he remains confident the hits will come. Unfortunately, if he doesn't wake up soon, the numbers may arrive while marooned in Omaha. If Pedro Alvarez, Danny Valencia or Willie Bloomquist are wading in the free agent pool, feed him to the fishes in non-keeper formats. Moose's rise to stardom is on hold.

Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 146 at-bats, .242 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R, 1 SB

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DOUBLE DIPPERS
For stream conscious owners who want to push the innings-pitched envelope this is the list for you. Run support, ballpark factors, historical and recent trends, opposing offenses, opposing SPs, managerial tendencies and meteorological influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.

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Other AL Double Dippers: Nick Blackburn, Min (at Tex, at Oak), Jake Arrieta, Bal (at Tor, at NYY), Guillermo Moscoso, Oak (TB, Min), Kyle Davies, KC (at Bos, at Cle)

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Other NL Double Dippers: Jake Westbrook, Hou (Hou, ChC), Jonathan Niese, NYM (at Cin, at Was), Aaron Harang, SD (at Phi, Col), James McDonald, Pit (at Atl, at Phi), R.A. Dickey, NYM (at Cin, at Was), Joe Saunders, Ari (at SD, at LAD), Dustin Moseley, SD (Ari, Col), J.A. Happ, Hou (at StL, at Mil)

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