Prospect Fowler can't fly under radar at Yanks camp

Prospect Fowler can't fly under radar at Yanks camp

TAMPA, Fla. -- In a Yankees camp where touted "Baby Bombers" such as Clint Frazier, James Kaprielian and Gleyber Torres have generated the most buzz, outfield prospect Dustin Fowler seems to have avoided the hype. That might not last for much longer.

Ranked as the Yankees' No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the 22-year-old Fowler's play on both sides of the ball has earned the organization's attention. Coaches rave about the progress that Fowler has shown at the plate and his graceful style in the outfield, continuing the improvements he made last year with Double-A Trenton.

"I don't talk much; I just keep my head down and do everything I can on the ball field," Fowler said. "Everyone says I've kind of flown under the radar. I just do everything I can on the baseball field and hopefully everything pays off."

Fowler's hit leads to two runs

Selected by the Yankees in the 18th round of the 2013 Draft, Fowler led the team's Minor Leaguers in RBIs (88) and total bases (248) last summer, displaying power and speed by hitting .281 with 15 triples, 12 homers and 25 stolen bases as an Eastern League All-Star.

"He's going about his business in a nice, quiet way," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's someone we don't sleep on."

Fowler was in the Yankees' big league camp last spring, as well, and manager Joe Girardi has noted the physical difference that those 12 months have made.

"He's swung the bat well, he's played good defense, he's run the bases well," Girardi said. "You kind of see a young man growing up in front of you. He had a tremendous year last year, for the age that he was in Double-A. That's not always the easiest place to hit, the first couple months of the year, with the weather. It's not really a hitter's ballpark. He's made some big, big strides."

Fowler credits Trenton hitting coach P.J. Pilittere for helping assemble his standout season, in which he ranked second among Yankees farmhands in hits (152) and ninth in batting average while primarily playing center field.

"In the beginning of the year, I was hitting a lot of filet shots, getting up under the ball a lot," Fowler said. "I worked with P.J. all year on shortening up to the ball as much as I can. I worked on some little stuff mentally on the hitting aspect. It paid off, and I was able to make a lot more solid contact and find the barrel more often."

Cashman has said that Fowler is ticketed to make his Triple-A debut this season, and The Bronx may not be far behind. Fowler has tried to take advantage of his opportunities in Spring Training, comparing notes with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner on topics such as reads and fly balls.

"I'm just trying to take everything in, talk to all the big league guys, get as much information in as I can," Fowler said. "With me, I like the competition, so it makes you work even harder. We've got a lot of talent and we've got a great future with the Yankees."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.