2012 Home Run Derby Results: Win Doesn't Guarantee Big Finish for Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder became the first player ever to win the home run derby as both a National League and American League player, but this event will not necessarily turn around his season.
The Tigers star defeated Jose Bautista in the finals and finished with a total of 28 home runs throughout the contest.
In reality though, he probably should not have even been a part of the contest. He has as much power as anyone in the league, but his transition to the AL has been a rough one.
There are 17 players in the AL with more home runs than Fielder's 15 going into the break. Players like Trevor Plouffe, Josh Reddick and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are higher on the list. His 21.4 at bats per home run is the lowest mark of his career since his first taste of the majors in 2005.
Still, Fielder competed in the home run derby and showed that he is still great at hitting batting practice. Unfortunately, this does not mean he will return to his old form.
Many players have been scared to compete in the derby based on previous players that disrupted their swings in the process. Bobby Abreu hit a record 41 homers in the contest in 2005, but only six the rest of the season. David Wright finished a close second in 2006, but had similar struggles in the second half of the year.
Even last year's winner Robinson Cano hit only one long ball in the 20 games following the all-star break.
Fielder has a natural power swing, so he should not need to worry about the adjustment from the derby, but returning focus is still an issue.
Detroit signed the slugging first baseman for $214 million over nine years, and the front office hopes to get its money's worth from their investment. So far, he has not been performing.
Playing at Comerica Park can hurt any hitter's power numbers, but Fielder has shown in the past that it often does not matter where he is playing if he gets good contact. When he gets a hold of a pitch, the ball is out of any park in the world.
This season he has been getting better pitches to hit than in the past, now he just has to make pitchers pay for their mistakes. Hitting doubles is nice, but the Tigers need him to get four-base hits more often.
The team is too good to be sitting in third place at the all-star break. Fielder needs to keep his confidence from the derby and help lead the team to the playoffs with a big second half of the season.
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