When Prince Fielder signed his 9-year, $214-million deal with the Detroit Tigers, fans of the game immediately crowned him as the best power hitter in baseball. At that time, fans thought that Miguel Cabrera would be the protection in the lineup for Fielder, but what ended up happening was the other way around. Cabrera won the Triple Crown and Fielder became his protection in the lineup. In Fielder’s two years in Detroit he hit for a better average than he did as a Brewer, but his power numbers fell. He hit just under 33 HRs per year in Milwaukee, but that fell to less than 28 per year in Detroit. His doubles rose by about six per year, and he only hit one triple in two years as a Tiger as opposed to about one per year as a Brewer.
Enter the Texas Rangers. I know the sample size is very small due to a season ending injury very early into the 2014 season, but through 42 games last season, he had shown almost no power at the plate. He’d only hit three home runs and eight doubles while he saw his batting average drop over fifty points from his last season before the Ian Kinsler trade sent him to Arlington. In 42 games a year ago, he had 41 strikeouts and his RBI total was at 16. A bad start to the season was made even bigger when it was announced that he would not finish the season due to a herniated disc in his neck.
It is still early in the 2o15 season, but i feel very comfortable in saying that I think that we are seeing a rested, rejuvenated, resurgent Prince Fielder playing for the Rangers this season. Through 36 games, the slugging first basemen is already on pace to dwarf the numbers he was on pace for in 2014. He is hitting 98 points better for average thus far and he has already almost doubled his home run total from a year ago. He is 14th in MLB in at-bats, tied for third in total hits (Nelson Cruz also has 49 hits), sixth in batting average at .345, and is also in the top 30 in RBI’s in the Major Leagues with 22.
Prince is on pace for over 30 home runs and over 90 RBI in 2015 for the Texas Rangers. Though the team has struggled, it is safe to say that Fielder is back to playing his brand of baseball in the field, but definitely at the plate where he is having a career-year in hitting for average. He is aided by having Adrian Beltre in the lineup hitting for a lot of power, as well as Shin-Soo Choo who has put up a great month for the Rangers. If Choo continues to improve and Beltre continues to hit for power, we could definitely see Fielder’s hitting stats improve even more. This fact, for all of the Rangers opponents, but definitely the AL West, is especially scary because a good Prince Fielder means trouble for opposing pitchers.