Prince Fielder is a Detroit Tiger, an impressive move, equally as impressive as when the White Sox landed Adam Dunn last off-season. It looked like the Sox had solved their DH power-hitting problem and would be heading to the playoffs, instead the signing of Victor Martinez by the Tigers turned out to be the smart move. V-Mart owned the league with runners in scoring position and gave Miguel Cabrera the protection he needed.
Unfortunately for the Tigers V-Mart went down during sliding drills and will be lost for the 2012 season, so the Tigers turn to Fielder to fill the void. The question is will a switch of leagues and more time as a DH work out for Fielder or will he suffer the same issues that Dunn suffered in year one with the White Sox?
Smitty sent me text saying how he was trying to rationalize whether Fielder should bat in front or behind Cabrera and then just started laughing. I replied that it sounds like me last year when the Sox landed Dunn.
First thing to note about Fielder is he’s four years younger than Dunn and several scouts and Sox personnel eluded to the fact that an older Dunn might need to change his off-season regime. This and emergency appendectomy surgery are possibilities for Dunn’s lack of production in 2011, and many veterans have a rebound a year later after making several off-season adjustments. Obviously, all White Sox fans are hoping for this.
After you remove the four-year age difference the similarities are eerie between Fielder and Dunn. Their 162 game averages over their careers are almost identical; Fielder’s is 37 home runs, 106 RBIs, and a .282 average. Even with his terrible 2011 with Sox Dunn’s 162 game average is 38 home runs, 95 RBIs, and a .243 average.
I also decided to take a look at how each player faired in interleague play before switching leagues, so Dunn’s numbers are from 2010.
Fielder hit .294 against the AL last season with one homer, three doubles, and 11 RBIs. The one glaring stat is he faced the Twins in two series and hit only .227 with no homers and five RBIs.
Dunn’s numbers aren’t any more impressive, except that he hit four homers and drove in 16, but he also had 10 more at-bats that can be associated with strike-outs and fly-outs since he doesn’t walk a lot.
Despite the similarities in numbers I think Fielder is going to do just fine in a Tigers uniform especially since he’s a more disciplined hitter than Dunn. I think he’ll have a 10% drop off in home runs because of Comerica Park, but I also think those will could equate to doubles versus fly outs. Everything else statistics wise should stay the same, and let’s be honest a 10% drop off in home runs is only 2-4 less, no biggy.
This year doesn’t scare me as much as 2013, when V-Mart returns to the line-up that will probably go Fielder, Cabrera, Martinez, 3-4-5. Ouch!