Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.
Dustin Fowler entered his rookie season with a lot of hype, but could never quite live up to it.
The A's young outfielder hit just .224/.256/.354 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 69 games last year. Fowler performed much better in Triple-A, slashing .341/.364/.520 with four homers, 17 doubles, 27 RBI, and 13 stolen bases in 55 games.
The 24-year-old will enter 2019 looking to build on that production at the Major League level. Fowler figures to battle for playing time with Nick Martini and Mark Canha in left field, and possibly Ramón Laureano in center.
The left-hander was ranked as the A's third-best prospect by MLB Pipeline after coming to Oakland from the Yankees in 2017 as part of the Sonny Gray trade. Now with a full season under his belt following major knee surgery, he should feel more comfortable facing big league pitching.
Defensively, Fowler struggled as well last season, finishing with -8 defensive runs saved. He should be able to improve on that part of his game based on his natural tools, including above-average speed and a serviceable arm.
Baseball Reference projects Fowler to hit .239/.292/.384 next season with nine home runs, nine doubles, 34 RBI, and six stolen bases. We expect his batting average and on-base percentage to be significantly higher, as he has proven to be a great all-around hitter in Triple-A.
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The biggest challenge for Fowler next season will be finding a rhythm despite inconsistent playing time. If he can do that, he may even capture the starting left fielder job.
Projection: .271/.334/.404, 8 HR, 13 doubles, 37 RBI, 12 stolen bases