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:
|162 Game Avg.||162||545||92||148||30||15||9||51||20||9||76||142||.272||.363||.430||.793||101|
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:
|162 Game Avg.||162||643||109||180||31||12||10||54||23||7||63||181||.280||.346||.413||.760||106|
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.