I get where you're coming from with this -- especially given the focus the Cardinals put on his exit velocity and the stories that were written about it earlier this season. I wrote a few of those stories. Here are the exit velocity averages from Fowler's three seasons with the Cardinals:
This year's would be the lowest of his career if it continues. And he's yet to barrel a ball, according to Statcast data. He had a 6.5 percent barrel rate in 2017, and then that slipped to 3.2 percent this past year. And now it's at nil. His hard-hit rate is also lagging behind -- 37.0 in 2017, 28.0 in 2018, and now at 25.6 percent in 2019. All of that does gloss over another important number, and that is the size of the sample:
2017 -- 323 balls in play
2018 -- 218 balls in play
2019 -- 44 balls in play
So, that's roughly one-fifth of the balls that he put in play a year ago, and one-sixth of the balls he put in play in 2017. These numbers could skew wildly if he has a good week -- or a poor week in either regard. Now, there are some interesting numbers beyond that that may show where things are headed. He's been at the extremes. He has a 111-mph exit velocity already this season that is harder than any one he had a year ago. He's had two or three above his highest from a year ago. His line drive rate this season is up to 38.6 and that is a high, while his flyball rate is crazy low at 9.1 percent. The past two years it's hovered around 25-28 percent. That will start to normalize, and as I learned this past week working on the Rapsodo story and listening to hitters talk about it the fly balls are the ones with the higher exit velocity. So, it makes sense that if Fowler hasn't hit many of them, he'd have that sag you're seeing.