Dexter Fowler Trade: Is he Injury Prone?

Doug Pensinger

The Rockies have been saying that Fowler's injury history was one of the reasons they wanted to move him, but is it really a concern?

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I'm going to take on another aspect of the Astros trade to acquire Dexter Fowler by looking at Fowler's injury history as the Rockies have thrown it around that his injury history is one of the reasons that trading him made sense. He has only made three trips to the disabled list over his six seasons in the majors, but has consistently missed a few games here and there over the years.

2009

In 2009, Fowler missed games on three occasions, and each time it was something to do with his legs. He missed one game when he was hit in the left calf with a foul ball and then missed two games later in the season due to bruising his left knee. A month after that, he made his first trip to the DL due to getting hit with another foul ball, but this time in his right knee. He missed fourteen games, for a grand total 17 games in a single season.

2010

He only missed one game in 2010, but had three separate injuries. He sprained an ankle but never missed a game as a result. He also had some arm soreness but never missed a game. The one injury that he did miss a game for was a rib bruise from running into a wall. What's with the bruises?

2011

There were four injuries in 2011 along with his second DL stint. His first injury was tightness in his right quad during camp and then got hit with another foul ball in his left thigh. He missed his first game with an abdominal strain that sent him to the DL where he missed 14 games. Later that season he was hit by a pitch in the elbow but didn't miss time either.

2012

Things started getting a little dicey in 2012 and started with a right ankle sprain followed by soreness in his left shoulder. He missed one game for each of those injuries. He then had an illness where he missed a game and then had a sore back that caused him to miss another game. That was followed by a right ankle sprain from running the bases that caused him to miss three games over the following week or so. After that, tendonitis creeped into his right wrist that caused him to miss six games. Grand total of fourteen games in the 2012 season.

2013

Camp started off with an ankle sprain and then he had some soreness in his right foot early in the season that never caused him to miss a game. But, he later had right hip soreness that caused him to miss one game. Then, in June, he was hit by a pitch on the hand that caused him to miss four games due to some bruising on his right hand and fingers. Just a week later, he made his third DL stint of his career for a soreness in his right wrist, presumably from the pitch. He then missed fourteen games with a left knee sprain. There's the 33 games.

Things seem to be piling up for Fowler over the last two years. Lots of bruises over his whole career, and lots of sprains and soreness. I don't want to label him as fragile, but he does seem to get minor dings here and there.

It's not uncommon to see athletes with a lot of tools find their ways into weird and minor injuries like his. Players with his kind of athleticism are just capable of doing things most players aren't. That comes with risks. That comes with sliding at slightly more awkward angles and rounding bases faster than most players can. I'm not saying that's why he gets hurt, but it could be.

For a guy who relies on speed for a lot of his value for covering center field (even with metrics saying he's below average) and base running, continuous lower extremity issues can be a small concern. If the injuries continue, you have to wonder if there's a point where he starts to lose stability and a major injury comes along.

However, typically, if that is going to happen, you would see these type of injuries more frequently. So, I don't think the leg problems are a significant concern, at least until they become more frequent and targeted to one joint.

There's just not enough consistency to say that there is a significant long-term concern. There's also not enough significance to each injury to call him an injury-prone.

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