Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Grading The Deal: Houston Astros Acquire Dexter Fowler


Yesterday the Houston Astros announced they acquired Dexter Fowler for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes. The Astros will also receive a player to be named later in the trade.

 

Astros Receive: Dexter Fowler and PTBNL

“One of our goals this offseason was to bring in an outfielder who can spark our offense,” Jeff Luhnow said, and that’s exactly what he did bringing in Fowler. Fowler is a leadoff hitter who hit 12 HR, 18 2B, 3 3B, and stole 19 bases while slashing .263/.369/.407 in 492 plate appearance in 2013. Those numbers are lower than his 2012 numbers where he hit 13 HR, 18 2B, 11 3B, and stole 11 bases while slashing .300/.389/.474 in 530 plate appearances.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Fowler’s 2013 numbers are likely lower than his 2012 numbers due to several injuries over the course of last season. Fowler missed several games with hand, knee, and ankle issues and has had several injuries (Subber10 of Crawfish Boxes wrote about it) over the course of his career.

Should we expect Fowler’s 2012 or 2013 numbers? I’d hope for something in the middle. I think Fowler can slash .280/.375/.450 over his time here and those numbers are great for a leadoff hitter. Fowler has the speed to steal 20 bases over a season and that speed will help him defensively in center field. Fowler prefers to play in center but the Astros could move him around if necessary.

Fowler will make $7.35 million this season, and won’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season. The 27-year old was worth 2.2 in WAR in 2013 according to FanGraphs which is a big improvement in the Astros outfield. Fowler is the first big addition to the MLB club for Jeff Luhnow, and could be one of several more this offseason.

Astros Grade: A-

 

Rockies Receive: Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes

I’ve always thought Jordan Lyles had the potential to be a #2 SP and I’ve been a big fan of his since his arrival to the Astros organization. Lyles, 23, was the 38th overall pick in the 2008 draft, and was quickly regarded as the top pitching prospect in the Astros organization for several seasons. Lyles was 20 when he made his MLB debut, but doesn’t feel like the Astros rushed him.

No, never felt over my head at any point. Definitely not. I had some ups and downs, and I’ve had ups and downs every year which every player goes through over the course of the season. But I didn’t feel rushed. I was very fortunate to be in a situation where they were able to move me so quickly. I’ve always adapted to the level I was at pretty well. I don’t feel like I was rushed.

Lyles was expected to start the 2013 season in the rotation, but a horrendous Spring had him starting the season at Triple-A OKC. In 2012, Lyles had a 5.09 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 25 starts. 2013 was supposed to be an improvement, but it was the opposite. Lyles’ 5.59 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 25 starts likely had the Astros discouraged and made him expendable in trade offers.

I still think there’s some potential with Lyles as he’s shown in stretches in his career. In a 7-start stretch between May and June of 2013, Lyles allowed just 8 earned runs in 44.2 IP, good for a 1.61 ERA during that stretch. Can he bring that success to Coors Field? Seems somewhat unlikely, but you never know.

Brandon Barnes is a solid fourth outfielder on most teams. Barnes hit just .240 with a .635 OPS in 408 at bats in 2013. The 27-year old should have been a Gold Glove candidate after making several jaw-dropping catches at Minute Maid Park. Barnes will likely have lots of fun roaming the Coors Field outfield and is an exciting player to watch.

Rockies Grade: D+

 

I’m not really sure what the Rockies were thinking. Fowler is a great leadoff player and was rumored to be a hot commodity for many teams. Lyles is an intriguing and young pitcher but there should have been better deals available for the Rockies. A 23-year old (so far) failed pitching prospect + a fourth outfielder for a great leadoff hitter in his prime? Yep Astros fans, that’s a big win for the Astros.

 

Tags: Brandon Barnes Dexter Fowler Houston Astros Jordan Lyles