Fowler Getting Back Into It

Dustin Fowler, the Yankees' 18th round draft pick in 2013, had a solid first full season this year, hitting a respectable .257 with nine home runs for the Charleston RiverDogs. The 19-year old was really starting to come into his own too in the second half but an injury caused him to miss the last three weeks of the season. He is down at Instructs, however, getting ready to get back into it.

"It was a good year," he said. "I had my ups and downs with the injury but for the most part I had a really successful season.

"I needed those last couple of weeks of the season to get more at-bats under my belt because I was starting to get really comfortable and it would have been really helpful to get those last 50 or so ABs of the year. It was a heartbreaker."

He suffered a badly strained hamstring on his left leg in his final game of the year against the Hickory Crawdads on August 11th. He initially tried to rehab through the injury while with the team but finally decided to end his season and head down to Tampa.

"I hit a double and when I was going around the bases I got a really sharp pain and called it quits then," he said. "I got the MRI and it showed the strained hamstring."

Fowler, who saw an increase in his slugging and hitting in the second half with Charleston, had been coming into his own a bit and it was a disappointing end to an otherwise solid first full year, one in which he saw himself grow as a player.

"Probably staying calm with all of the fans and the better competition," he said of his biggest adjustment, "staying calm and being confident with myself and doing what I do best, swing the bat; hit, and play my game. I was getting the at-bats and getting comfortable with myself."

As good a year as it was, however, there are things he learned he needs to work on going forward. An overall patient hitter who isn't a high strikeout batter [he struck out just 53 times in 66 games], he drew just 13 walks this season and being more selective will be a point of emphasis.

"Just being more patient at the plate -- being so young I'm still a little too aggressive at the plate right now and thinking I can hit every pitch," he said. "Kind of having an approach when I get to the plate of picking a pitch and staying focused on that pitch and driving it, that's the next step."

Nearly fully healthy again, that will be his developmental mantra for Instructional League over the next three weeks plus.

"Hitting the ball to the other field more often, being more patient, and getting the pitch I want," he listed.

"I am feeling good. It's starting to get healed now. I'm almost 100 percent right now. I'm on the field now doing baseball stuff. I'm not sure if they're going to let me play [in games] this week but definitely [by] next week. I'm ready to get back into the groove."

It's been over a month since he last played in games but Fowler feels like he is ready to pick up right where he left off and begin improving other aspects of his game.

"I feel like I'll get right back into it. I've been taking BP and in the field taking fly balls, and I feel like I've jumped right into it pretty quick."

With the way his game was developing prior to the injury and now feeling healthy once again, Fowler is seeing his confidence grow as he heads into his second full season next year.

"It's pretty high. I just want to get ready, stay healthy, and improve on everything I can in the few weeks here," he concluded.

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