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2012 Home Run Derby Winner: Prince Fielder's Win Must Propel a Big Second Half

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 09:  American League All-Star Prince Fielder #28 of the Detroit Tigers at bat in the final round during the State Farm Home Run Derby at Kauffman Stadium on July 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 10, 2012

Prince Fielder put on an impressive display of sheer power to win the 2012 Home Run Derby, but his first-half power numbers haven't reflected his true talent.

The Prince has had a good season so far, but not one that has lived up to the nine-year, $214 million contract that he received in the offseason.

The Detroit Tigers signed Fielder to such a huge deal because they expected him to hit a ridiculous amount of home runs behind Miguel Cabrera. Of course, we're only at the unofficial halfway point of the year, but Fielder has just 15 home runs to his name.

What Fielder did at Kauffman Stadium was nothing short of amazing. He hit 28 total homers, seven more than his nearest competitor, Jose Bautista.

It wasn't just the amount of homers, but the consistency in which he hit towering shots. There were no cheap homers. There were hardly any balls that seemed iffy off the bat. Fielder destroyed basically every homer that he hit in Kansas City on Monday night.

Fielder has averaged 38 home runs over his first six full seasons, but won't even reach 30 at the pace he is currently on.

Sure, Fielder will tell you that his Home Run Derby victory will have nothing to do with the rest of his regular season, but Tigers fans better hope it does if they want to see their team make the playoffs.

Detroit is currently 3.5 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central race, and 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild-card spot.

The Tigers are going to get solid pitching out of Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera is going to continue to rake. That makes Fielder the team's X-factor in terms of their chances to advance to postseason play.

The four-time All-Star wasn't happy to see the All-Star break come. Fielder hit three home runs in his last four games leading up to the "Midsummer Classic" to bring his total to where it stands.

A little padding of the numbers is always nice, but Fielder needs to continue his hot streak into the second half. He'll certainly be helped by his victory at the Home Run Derby.

Postseason play is within reach for the Tigers, but Jim Leyland and company will need more out of Fielder if they are going to get there.

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