Chicago Cubs: No. 14: Dexter Fowler
In addition to talent, the Chicago Cubs seemed to have the right mix of players and team chemistry when they won the World Series in 2016. Dexter Fowler was a big reason for that.
Fowler came over to the Cubs in a trade with the Houston Astros prior to the 2015 season. That year, he posted a .757 OPS out of the leadoff spot. He also provided a good mix of speed and power, hitting 17 home runs while stealing 20 bases. Fowler was a free agent after that season, and it was assumed that he would leave. Instead, the Cubs surprised everyone by bringing Fowler back on a one-year deal at the beginning of spring training. Fowler had an even bigger year in 2016, making the All-Star team on his way to an .840 OPS.
Fowler provided the ultimate leadoff moment for the Cubs, as he hit a leadoff home run in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. Ever since Fowler left after the 2016 season, the Cubs have struggled to find a quality leadoff hitter. It just feels like the offense hasn’t been the same without Fowler getting things going.
We’ll always remember Fowler for his contributions to the club in 2015 and especially 2016. Yet his legacy became complicated just a little bit when he signed with the rival St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2017 season. Still, years from now, I think we’ll have nothing but positive memories of Fowler.