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5/9/1984 (32 y, 10 m, 13 d)
2002 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 7, Overall: 7, Team: Milwaukee Brewers
$214M / 9 Years (2012 - 2020)
Fielder (neck) was placed on the 60-day DL on Tuesday. (2/15/2017)
Neck, 60-Day DL
Insuring Prince Fielder
Nathaniel Grow (FanGraphs)
Prince Fielder's Baseball Career Is Over
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
MASH Report (7/26/16)
Jeff Zimmerman (RotoGraphs)
Eight Players Under Performing their xOBA
Andrew Perpetua (RotoGraphs)
The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 342 – Buying Low
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
You want evidence of bias in the media? Here it is. While basically every news source in the land reported on Fielder's choice to become a vegetarian prior to the 2008 season, hardly any of them called attention to his obvious cannibalistic tendencies in 2009 – as evidenced by how gratuitously he feasted on National League pitchers. After a 2008 that you'd call disappointing only insofar as it wasn't as crazy as his 2007, Fielder bested 2007's 4.9 WAR with a 6.7 mark. The improvement was partly defensive, sure, but the hitting was better, too: his park-adjusted runs above average (based on wOBA) was 55.4, up from 49 in 2007 (and 23.9 in 2008). He also played at least 157 games for the fourth consecutive year – a testament to his durability, if not his all-around fitness.
The Year Ahead:
If Albert Pujols is King, then Fielder lives up to his name as Prince – at least so far as Major League first basemen are concerned. In any hitting category you care to mention – batting average, home runs, RBI, runs scored – Fielder is likely to finish in the top 10 among qualified hitters (although, make that top 30 for batting average). The more appropriate question to ask about Fielder is exactly where he'll be doing his damage. The Brewers bought out two of his arbitration seasons before 2009, the latter of which will pay him $10.5 million in 2010. After that, it's anybody's guess. The year 2011 will mark Fielder's last arb-eligible year, and even that could net him a payout too rich for the Brewers' brat- and beer-filled blood. Thus, the possibility exists that Fielder could end up switching teams at mid-season, if not sooner. (Carson Cistulli)
If, at the beginning of December, one were to have compiled a preliminary list of the players most likely to be traded at the deadline in 2011 (if not sooner), it's likely that Fielder would've been near the top. The upcoming season represents the Brewers' last year of team-control over Fielder, and the first baseman will likely command a big (read: non-Brewers-y) contract as a free agent. December, however, brought a great deal of change in Milwaukee, including, most notably, the acquisition of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Those moves make the Brewers a legitimate contender in the NL Central and, therefore, make it less likely that Fielder will be dealt. As for Fielder himself, the most likely line is probably something similar to his career per-162-game average: .279 AVG, 37 HR, 104 RBI, 92 R, 3 SB. (Carson Cistulli)
The Quick Opinion:
With the signings of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, Fielder is likely to spend the season as a Brewer. Is likely to produce very similarly to his per-162 numbers.
Fielder joins his father's team this season, and though his new home park won't be the same launching pad for his lefty power, his new team can count on getting one of the game's best hitters. He is best known for his mammoth power, but Fielder is more than a one-dimensional home run machine. He boasts some of the league's best plate discipline and makes shockingly good contact for someone who swings out of his shoes as he does. 2011 was Fielder's sixth straight season with a strikeout rate below 20%, and the move down to 15.3% could help him sustain a .299 average for years to come. He should be a threat for .300-30-100-100 in any city he signs in. Just don't push that home run total too far north -- Detroit is more of a pitcher's park than most might think. (Jack Moore)
The Quick Opinion:
Fielder is clearly one of the game's best hitters regardless of position. He brings more to the game than power -- an increase in contact in 2011 could allow him to keep his average near .300 on a regular basis if sustained.
When Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers, the question was what would happen to his power. Miller Park inflated left-handed home runs, while Detroit slightly suppressed them. While Fielder's home run total did end up dipping, it was actually in away ballparks where the decline occurred. In addition, part of the blame goes to his fly ball rate, which slipped to the lowest mark of his career. To make up for the loss of fly balls, Fielder hit line drives like there's no tomorrow, which led to a career-best batting average on balls in play. He also made the best contact of his career, resulting in his first batting average over .300. Odds are his contact rate regresses a bit, but his fly ball rate should rebound, ultimately earning him similar fantasy value. (
The Quick Opinion:
In his first year with the Tigers, Fielder was a slight disappointment for fantasy owners, posting his lowest home run total since his rookie year in 2006. Assuming his fly ball rate rebounds though, he should again be one of the top first basemen in fantasy leagues.
Everything was down for Fielder in 2013 -- his power, his patience, even his luck. For the first time in three seasons, he was just a two-win player. It seems silly to complain about a player who hit 25 percent better than league average, but Fielder had raised expectations with his 2011 and 2012 campaigns, during which he tied for the sixth-most home runs in baseball, and posted the sixth-best wRC+ among qualified players. But 2013 was a different year. Fielder reportedly had some off-field issues, and filed for divorce from his wife in May, and that is never an easy situation. Assuming he is able to put that all behind him heading into the 2014 season, he should return to the imposing slugger he has been in years past. Steamer has no reservations, as it has him pumped up back to a 140 wRC+. Thanks to his domestic issues, it's difficult to know whether or not what we say was the beginning of a real decline or a one-year blip, and perhaps you want to wait a round or two longer than normal to tap Fielder in your fantasy draft, but he should still remain one of the better bets for your fantasy roster.
The Quick Opinion:
Fielder had a down 2013 season that ended in spectacle when he helped belly flop the Tigers out of the American League Championship Series. He now has a fresh start down in Texas, where he will be at the center of what should prove to be a very potent Rangers attack.
Even before his mess of a 2014 season, there were questions around Prince Fielder. Prior to 2013, he was an outstanding producer in both real and fantasy baseball. In the latter's category variant, he regularly racked up runs, RBI, and homers, and usually threw in a good average, too. But in 2013, things started to go wrong. He wasn't walking quite as much, or hitting for average, but more troubling was the drop in power. Was Fielder's conditioning (or lack thereof) catching up with him? Then the Tigers traded Fielder to the Rangers, but no answers were really forthcoming as his 2014 season ended after 178 (dreadful) plate appearances due to a brutal and unusual neck injury. There are not any obvious examples of a hitter coming back from having bones in his neck fused together. This would seem to have obvious effects on his hitting, but it is not clear what the recovery will be like. Moreover, Fielder was clearly in decline before the injury. Just from prior numbers, one might expect something like .280/.380/.480 for Fielder, but that does not take his injury into account. Do not pay for those numbers, but do not let him go as if he is worthless. Draft him lower/pay less for him than you think he is projected to go so that if he does produce it is a bonus -- treat him like you might have treated Victor Martinez going into 2014. Here is hoping he surprises, but there are so many unknowns with him. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Fielder is a big risk in 2015, but the Rangers have no choice but to play him. Do not let him drop off the board, but err on the side of buying low.
Those who took the risk on Fielder coming off of injury in 2015 made a nice profit, as he hit 23 home runs, knocked in 98 runs, and posted a .305 batting average. Given the moderate decline he had shown before the injury and the time off for a 31-year-old, that was perhaps surprising. Fielder's power isn't quite where it was in 2013, which isn't where it was in years prior, but he cut his strikeout rate even further despite swinging at far more pitches, including those out of the zone. Those would be flails resulted in a career high contact rate, and while he didn't hit the ball quite as hard or hit as many liners as the normally does, all of those balls in play leave room for good things to happen. A .323 batting average on balls in play might be a shade high and his home run per fly ball rate waned in the midseason months, but overall it was an encouraging comeback season. Fielder shouldn't be relied on for his .300-30-100 upside but he might come close, enough that he should be on the radar just outside the top 10 at first base (assuming he's not only a designated hitter in your format). (Blake Murphy)
The Quick Opinion:
Fielder had a great comeback season in 2015, swinging even more freely and making even more contact. His power is no longer elite and that leaves him outside the top 10 at first base, but there's little indication he won't still be a useful piece.
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Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:38 AM ET
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