Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder had a down year with the Detroit Tigers in 2013. Regardless, he was still one of the most productive first basemen in baseball. Many players would settle for a .279/25/106 slash line, .362 on-base percentage and .457 slugging.
If batting average, home runs, runs batted in, OBP and SLG are a fantasy baseball team’s five major offensive categories, Fielder is a solid choice at first base.
Some might be hesitant to draft Fielder due to his underwhelming (by his standards) 2013. He hit .313/30/108 with a monster .412 OBP and .528 SLG the year prior.
According to ESPN Fantasy Baseball, Fielder will post a .300/35/113 slash line this season. The projection considers 2013 to be a bump in the road rather than the beginning of a decline.
Fielder will play half of his games at the hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX. He raked in Miller Park throughout his six full seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2006 to 2011, including a 50-home run season in 2007. Expect Fielder’s power numbers to improve dramatically in Texas.
He has a career .286 batting average, .389 OBP and .527 SLG. Even if he under performs, he is still a productive first baseman.
Spring training does not count towards the regular season, but he flexed on February 27 with a long home run.
There was also nothing cheap about Fielder’s last homer in a Tigers uniform on September 22, 2013.
Fielder can be relied upon to play a full season. Since 2006, he has never played less than 157 games per year.
With Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus hitting in front of him, Fielder is almost guaranteed to drive in at least 100 runs. Choo is coming off a .423 OBP season with the Cincinnati Reds and Andrus has a career .339 OBP. The Rangers will eat if they can set the table for Fielder.
Turning 30 this season, Fielder is highly capable of another monster year. Miguel Cabrera—undisputedly the best choice at first base and arguably overall—and Paul Goldschmidt are sure to be high picks. But don’t sleep on Fielder.