Dexter Fowler and Austin Jackson: Fantasy Twins

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Colorado Rockies watches his grand slam fly over the wall during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Padres 9-1. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

When writing my early 2013 Outfielder Rankings, I came across two outfielders playing in two different cities, who based on their 2012 stats, appear to be fantasy twins. By that I mean they are having almost identical seasons at the plate this season. The two players are Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler and Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson.

Let's take a look at how they have performed thus far in 2012, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:

Dexter Fowler

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2008 22 COL 13 26 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 .154 .185 .154 .339 -12
2009 23 COL 135 433 73 115 29 10 4 34 27 10 67 116 .266 .363 .406 .770 94
2010 24 COL 132 439 73 114 20 14 6 36 13 7 57 104 .260 .347 .410 .757 92
2011 25 COL 125 481 84 128 35 15 5 45 12 9 68 130 .266 .363 .432 .796 103
2012 26 COL 126 409 69 125 15 11 13 52 12 4 57 112 .306 .389 .491 .880 120
5 Yrs 531 1788 302 486 99 50 28 167 64 31 249 467 .272 .363 .430 .793 101
162 Game Avg. 162 545 92 148 30 15 9 51 20 9 76 142 .272 .363 .430 .793 101
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/9/2012.

Fowler has shown improvement at the plate in each of the last two seasons. His triple slash line has increased in each of the last two seasons, from .260-.347-.410 in 2010 to .306-.389-.491 this season, and his OPS ranks 12th amongst all qualifying outfielders. I was once down on Fowler, thinking he was just a platoon outfielder, but no longer. He has already set career highs in home runs and RBI this season, and has a decent shot at setting career highs in runs scored and walks, should he continue to play every day through early October.

Next season will be his age 27 season, so he might be setting up for a breakout season in 2013. Fantasy owners should pay attention to how he finishes the season, but we all wish he would run a bit more on the basepaths. A change in managers could do wonders for Fowler's fantasy value in 2013.

A look at Fowler's fantasy twin after the jump:

While Fowler has shown improvement at the plate this season, Austin Jackson has had a bounce back season in 2012. Here are his stats, courtesy of Baseball Reference:

Austin Jackson

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2010 23 DET 151 618 103 181 34 10 4 41 27 6 47 170 .293 .345 .400 .745 102
2011 24 DET 153 591 90 147 22 11 10 45 22 5 56 181 .249 .317 .374 .690 89
2012 25 DET 115 455 88 138 23 10 13 53 11 7 59 116 .303 .385 .484 .868 135
3 Yrs 419 1664 281 466 79 31 27 139 60 18 162 467 .280 .346 .413 .760 106
162 Game Avg. 162 643 109 180 31 12 10 54 23 7 63 181 .280 .346 .413 .760 106
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/9/2012.

The glaring improvement for Jackson this season is that he has drastically cut down on the strikeouts, from 181 last year to 116 in 2012. His OPS of .868 ranks 14th amongst all qualifying outfielders this season, which is quite surprising given that he is a leadoff hitter. He has set career highs in home runs, RBI and triples this season, but it appears manager Jim Leyland has not given him the green light this season. Jackson's stolen base opportunities have dropped from 27 to 18 this season, and his success rate has dropped as well.

Heading into 2013, I think I would prefer Fowler in fantasy leagues for the simple fact that he plays in Colorado, and has the speed to steal more bases.

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