Scouting Jays’ Prospect #28: Eric Fowler
Eric Fowler Pitching for Auburn

Posted Jan 20, 2006


The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Eric Fowler in the fifth round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft. Fowler, was not only the second pitcher selected by the Jays in the draft, but also the second left-hander selected. The organization sent Fowler to pitch with the Auburn Doubledays for his first professional season and Fowler enjoyed success splitting his time as a starter and a reliever.

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Vital Statistics:
Name: Eric Fowler
Position: Pitcher
DOB: March 18, 1983
Height: 6’3
Weight: 215
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

The Blue Jays were extremely happy that Eric Fowler was still on the draft board when their selection in the fifth round came.

“I was expecting to be drafted around that point,” Fowler told InsideTheDome. “My advisor was telling me he was hearing a couple of teams wanted to draft me in the fourth round, but when that didn't happen I was more than happy to be selected by the Blue Jays in the fifth round.”

Fowler had an idea that the Blue Jays would be selecting him, though he was not real sure. The day before the draft Matt Briggs, one of the Blue Jays area scouts called Fowler and told him the organization was very interested in him. Fowler took that information and pasted it along with what his advisor was feeding him, and came to a conclusion that he would hear his name before the fifth round finished.

“We were very excited to get Eric in the fifth round,” Blue Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde said. “Eric had a terrific year at the University of Mississippi. The pitching coach at Ole Miss is a fellow named Kyle Bunn, who I know well, and Kyle did an outstanding job with that pitching staff and specifically working with Eric.”

Fowler is a smart pitcher and knows how to handle himself on the mound. His main goal when he steps on the hill is to get ahead of the count. When he has two strikes against a batter he likes going to his slider, since the left-hander feels it’s his most effective strikeout pitch. Fowlers’ slider begins in the strike zone and looks similar to his fastball, but has a late break to it, and ends up in the dirt, with hitters chasing after it.

“I need to work on my changeup more because it’s not really there yet,” the left-hander said. “I need to pick it up. I realize that is an important pitch to master if you want to be successful at the next level, so that will be the first pitch I will look to work on.”

Fowler’s catcher this season was Brian Bormaster, a second-year player and a brilliant receiver and defensive catcher. Bormaster recently told Inside The Dome that in his two seasons of professional baseball, Fowler has been one of the most impressive pitcher he has caught.

“He has an above average fastball for a lefty and good command of it too,” Bormaster said. “His slider is just filthy. The bite on it is tough on hitters.”

Bormaster went on to say that Fowlers changeup developed nicely during the summer months.

“Eric also has developing change-up and he made a bunch of progress with that pitch this year.”

Fowler began the season on a brilliant note, as he didn’t issue a run over his first nine innings of work. He also finished the season on a positive note issuing just nine runs over his last twenty-five innings of work. Opponents hit just .202 off the left-hander this past season. Fowler saw time both as a reliever and a starter, but faired well in both roles. As a reliever, opponents hit just .204 off him, and as a starter opponents hit .201 off him. The southpaw was extremely effective against left-handed batters, holding them to a batting average against mark of .167.

“Overall I thought my season went well,” said Fowler. “It took a while to get used to professional baseball, and for my arm to adjust to the five man rotation.”

Fowler was invited to “instructs” after the 2005 season ended, and worked on the side with the Jays coaches on his entire repertoire.

“It was mostly teaching you about the game, the organization, and working on different baseball drills” Fowler said of his time during the Instructional League.

The southpaw did not throw the baseball much. Fowler was on the mound just twice, and was limited to a pitch count of forty both times.

Fowler noted he would like to finish the 2006 season at Class High-A , and also prove that he doesn’t walk many batters. Fowler walked more batters than he would have liked during the 2005 season.

“I don’t usually walk many batters” said the left-handed pitcher. “I think it was because I was trying to be a little too fine with my pitches.”

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

K

ERA

2005

Auburn

4-2

56.2

42

29

55

3.02



Repertoire: Fastball, curveball, changeup, cutter/slider.

Fastball: Fowler does not feature an overpowering fastball, but his deceptive delivery makes it effective. The left-handers fastball was clocked between 88-to-91 MPH this past season.

Other Pitches: His big weapon and best pitch is his curveball, which ranges in the 75-to-81 MPH range. Fowler throws a sharp curveball that has some late bite to it. His third pitch, and the pitch many will be watching closely is his changeup. Scouts and even Fowler himself know it’s a pitch he needs to work on if he wants to have success as a starter. If he can’t develop the changeup successfully it means his role will be in the bullpen. Fowler also worked on adding a cutter to his repertoire during the Instructional League, and will continue working on the pitch during the 2006 season.

Projection: We like the improvements Fowler has made on his changeup and as a result will project him as a starter for now. However, it’s still too early to make an accurate assessment. One thing is certain – the future is bright for this left-hander.

2006 Outlook: Fowler is polished enough to begin the season in the Florida State League, however, it’s likely the organization will start him with Lansing. The left-hander still needs to improve his command and lower his walk ratios slightly.

ETA: Fowler could accelerate his ETA if he focuses on pitching strictly as a reliever, and could be a two years away from the major leagues. However, if the organization decides to keep him as a starter it could take an extra three to six months for Fowler to advance, depending on the development he makes with his changeup. The former Ole Miss pitcher should make his appearance around the 2008 season.
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