News: 2 days agoFowler has missed multiple days due to back tightness and will not practice Sunday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Spin: Fowler's back issue appears to be minor, with manager Mike Shildt saying it's "nothing I'm overly concerned about," per Anne Rogers of MLB.com. The 34-year-old is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he struggled at the plate, but he did conclude the 2019 campaign on a high note., so there's reason to be optimistic that Fowler will open the season with plentiful opportunities for playing time..
ESPN Fantasy Projection: Fowler had nowhere to go but up after a disastrous 2018 campaign during which he registered a .180 BA and 63 wRC+. The veteran did improve last season, though his .238 BA was hardly reason to celebrate. Fowler's poor hitting was rooted in his declining contact skills, as his 75.2% contact rate and 24.7 K% were each the worst marks of his career. When he did hit the ball, Fowler generated a meager 85.2 mph average exit velocity, placing him in the bottom 10th percentile league wide. With that in mind, it's irrational to expect him to repeat last season's career-best mark of 19 home runs. Fowler deserves some credit for finding other ways to reach base -- he was hit by a pitch eight times and notched a solid 12.9 BB% -- but that's not enough to make him fantasy-viable, especially in light of his declining stolen-base numbers.