Fowler is an X-Factor for Rox in 2012

Like it or not, outfielder Dexter Fowler is going to have a large impact on the Rockies' success this season. It's a scary proposition for Rockies fans, who have seen the talented Fowler lose his swing during each of the last two seasons and earn demotions to the minor leagues. 

Though it is the most famous Spring Training cliche, Fowler has come into camp in terrific shape after working out in Las Vegas with Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi this offseason.

"It was great, went out and worked with Tulo and Big G," Fowler said. "They told me at the end of last season that they wanted me to come and work out and I took them up on that offer."

More important than just showing up in good shape, Fowler said it was very much a learning experience.

"It was good to go out there with a leader of the team and another veteran guy and pick their brains as well as getting a good work out in," he said. 

Fowler also understands that for them to ask him to come along means he's a very important part of the team.

"For them to ask me that is definitely huge," Fowler said. 

Though he is saying and doing all of the right things, it's hard to forget how frustrating it has been to watch Fowler play over the last two seasons. His skill set is tremendous and at the same time it's befuddling. 

Fowler has tremendous speed, but he hasn't shown that he can steal bases with any kind of success. Over the last two seasons, he has 25 steals and has been caught 17 times on the bases. It got to the point where he stopped even trying to steal bases all together.

"I just shut it down myself because I figure on a base hit I can get to third base anyway and on a double I can score," Fowler said. "I worked on jumps and getting my legs strong this offseason and I'm gonna start stealing some bases again."

He better be ready because his manager Jim Tracy is the most aggressive manager in the game when it comes to attempting steals. 

"We get the green light and he has full trust in me because I have stolen bases in the game," he said. "He gives me the green light and at that point it's on me, whether it's a hit and run or whatnot."

Fowler is excited that this year the Rockies will have the consistent production of Marco Scutaro batting behind him in the number two spot. 

"It's awesome," he said. "That guy puts the bat on the ball and whatever he's asked to do, he does it. If I'm in motion, it's big that I have that protection behind me. He's gonna take some pitches for me to get into scoring position and then he's gonna do the job." 

But, before Fowler can attempt to cause havoc on the bases—whether that's for the opponent or his own team—he'll have to get on base first. His swing was totally out of whack last season and it's something he's worked on a lot this offseason.

"My mechanics were messed up," Fowler said. "I know I can hit, I've hit in the game before. It wasn't a matter of that, it was a matter of getting back to the basics. I had a lot of moving parts and I cut down on that." 

Hopefully for the Rockies he's improved to the point where he can stay productive at the big league level for the entire season. 

"Seeing the ball better, developing the leg kick in the second half," he said. "It was a matter of getting my body to get into position to hit the ball harder."

How Fowler will fare in 2012 is the million dollar question, but he still has youth on his side and enters the season with renewed confidence off the way he ended the last season. 

"I just try to go out and relax, I think that was big," he said. "I always believe in myself. Obviously, you come back and hit like I did in the second half and your confidence comes back, which is huge." 

For a player that has been retired on strikes in 22% of his MLB plate appearances, the Rockies hope that confidence leads to more contact for their talented leadoff man.  

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