Breaking news: Prince Fielder is husky. (I’m quoting Lynn Henning here). He’s also an elite power hitter, the likes of which Detroit probably hasn’t seen since his father’s heyday.
Much has been said about how his power will translate. The right field fence (not in the alley, but the actual right field fence) at Comerica is actually closer than that of Miller Park. We’ve also seen the statistic cited that no left-hand Tiger hitter has had more than 12 home runs at Comerica since 2005. This is more because the Tigers’ lefty power has been abysmal since Carlos Pena’s release more than any limiting park factors. (Remember their efforts to acquire Bobby Abreu back in 2006, and then moving to get Aubrey Huff in 2009?) Plus, Prince has a thing for no-doubters. Most of his home runs last year traveled over 400 feet. Unless he’s hitting them to dead center, he’s gonna be alright. Also worth noting that he draws a ton of walks. A .400 OBP guy in the middle of the lineup is never a bad thing.
What he needs to work on
Would be nice if Prince could be a good defensive first baseman, but he really isn’t. I mean, we’ll see if he can work on it, but don’t get too excited. Fielder also has this thing where he’s better in alternating years. To wit, his full season batting averages: .271, .288, .276, .299, .261, .299. We’ll see if he can buck the trend this year.
What he needs to do to improve
Consistency? A stable .300/.415/.550 line would make him a force to be reckoned with, but might be asking too much. His walk and K rates are remarkably consistent, though. There was actually a notable drop in strikeouts for him last year. That would be a nice thing to maintain.
What he will do
Fielder has pretty stable numbers. .270-.290 with 35ish home runs is a pretty safe bet. He won’t be great defensively, but that’s something we’ll have to deal with. Either way, he’s going to drive in a lot of runs. Worry not.
Walkoff Woodward Bubblegum Card Prediction
PA 675, R 90, 2B 33, 3B 1, HR 35, RBI 107, BB 103, K 123, SB 1, AVG .287, SLG .529, BABIP .302