Tofu Power and Prince Fielder

In 2007, Prince Fielder hit 50 HR and was considered one of the top sluggers in the game. Heading into the 2008 season, Fielder had an ADP of 11. However, those who took Fielder that high suffered through a rough beginning of the season. Through May 29th, he had just six home runs and 25 RBIs in 194 at-bats. For the rest of the season he had 28 HR and 77 RBIs in 394 at-bats.

For the season, Fielder had a $17.23 dollar value according to the RotoTimes Player Rater and finished outside of the top-40 fantasy hitters. This year, fantasy owners are splitting the difference between 2007 and 2008, giving Fielder an ADP of 26 according to the latest update over at Mock Draft Central.

Much was made last year about Fielder becoming a vegetarian. Many people blamed the slow start on his dietary decision. But slumps happen. Fielder’s poor stretch simply happened at the beginning of the season and was more noticeable.

But much like Carlos Delgado, Fielder had two poor months and four good months last year. And the four good months were the final four of the season. Now, we don’t get to pick the months that we want to count from a player’s stat line. The season is six months long and each month counts the same.

However, when projecting players into the future, one should take into account as much information as possible. We know that Fielder hit 50 HR in 2007. We know that his final four months of the season he was on a pace for 42 HR. In the past two years, there is much more evidence that Fielder is a 40+ HR player than there is that he is a <35 HR player.

One could easily counter that if we are going to look at all of the information, we should include 2006, when Fielder hit 28 HR in 569 at-bats as a 22-year old. And I won’t quibble with that one bit. It is my belief that we should put more weight on the more-recent performance, especially given his age.

If you are comfortable projecting Fielder as a 40-HR guy, that makes him a top-20 hitter, assuming he can keep his average in the .275-.280 range. Three of the four projection systems show Fielder clearing the .280 mark this season.

Fielder may be slightly undervalued by the mock drafting crowd. The mockers prefer Justin Morneau, who on average is going six slots ahead of Fielder. Morneau provided much more value in 2008, but I would prefer Fielder’s power over Morneau’s RBI bat this season.




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11 Responses to “Tofu Power and Prince Fielder”

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  1. thinwhiteduke says:

    The vegetarian stuff is just laughable. I don’t know how much of Fielder’s decision was motivated by moral values vs health benefits, but the fact is he’ll be a leaner and healthier player moving forward. He surely realized that weight was always going to be an issue for him, and saw that his dad turned into a fat tub of glue by his early 30′s. Now, while there is certainly such a thing as a fat vegetarian out there, if Fielder is showing a true commitment to his weight and overall health he should be applauded, not criticized. There is absolutely no reason turning vegetarian would sap his strength or something akin to that idea; as long as he is getting enough protein and sufficient calorie intake (and his trainers will ensure that) he will not lose any muscle tissue.

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    • Jim says:

      Sorry, but I have to laugh at “lean” and “Prince Fielder” being in the same sentence. At this point he looks more like a “The Biggest Loser” competitor than a baseball player. The Brewers really need to do something about his weight, or he will be out of baseball by the time he is 30.

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      • thinwhiteduke says:

        True enough. I don’t know what he is looking like this spring, but last year, veggie lover or not, Fielder was still very hefty. Substituting 5 bean burgers for 3 whoppers won’t do much good. Hopefully he really is making a concerted effort to drop pounds.

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  2. Jim says:

    Brian, there seems to be a lack of continuity between this article and the one you wrote about Evan Longoria.

    If Adrian Gonzalez was only the 30th best fantasy hitter with this line,

    .279-36-119-103

    why would Prince Fielder be a top-20 hitter this year with 4 more homeruns and a similar batting average?

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  3. Brian Joura says:

    That is an excellent point, Jim.

    I used Ryan Braun and Aubrey Huff as my endpoints for my comment. Braun had this line:

    .285-37-106-92-14 and was the 16th-best hitter according to RotoTimes

    Huff had this line

    .304-32-108-96-4 and ranked 23rd.

    I figured that Fielder would be between those two, putting up neither the SB of Braun nor the AVG of Huff but besting them enough in the other categories.

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    • josh says:

      i wish there was some application where you could plug in a given stat line and it would provide a $$ value based on last year, or based on a certain projection system. i feel like that would be a great way to get a better feel for comparing 2 stat lines. i do think those braun and huff lines are significantly better than what you’re projecting for prince, but being a 1B, the lack of steals isn’t a detriment, and his big power numbers compare favorably with the average 1B.

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  4. Matt B. says:

    I’ll take Prince this year over Adr.Gonz is for nothing else the park factor and a stronger MIL lineup.

    Fielder will likely reach 40-45 HRs this year. Hard to complain about that.

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  5. Josue S says:

    Quick question for the community regarding Prince. I am in a NL only, straight points league and had to decide between Brandon Webb or Prince as my one keeper. I chose Webb as he plays a more premium position and overall has been more consistent. Would any of you disagree with this pick?

    Thanks

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  6. Jim says:

    Excuse me, but how is starting pitching a premium position? It is by far the deepest of any in the game. Fielder, no question about that.

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  7. Ender says:

    Fielder slimmed down during the off season, it is very noticable. He also came out and said that he was trying to hit 50 HRs in april last year. Fielder is not a dead pull hitter but he was pulling everything early. I am very comfortable drafting Fielder in the 3rd round and don’t have an issue drafting him late 2nd round depending on who I picked first.

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  8. STEALTH says:

    How would you not keep Fielder over Webb in a keeper league? Unless you were able to acquire Pujols, Howard, Tex, or Miguel Cabrera, it was a regrettable decision to keep Webb over Prince.

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