Prince Fielder and the Home Run Derby


Jul 15, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; American League first baseman Prince Fielder (28) of the Detroit Tigers during the Home Run Derby in advance of the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Many fans do not want their stars participating in the Home Run Derby because they believe that their slugger will just try to swing for the fences and lose their swing. For Prince Fielder, that is not the case.

In two of the four seasons that Prince Fielder has participated in the Home Run Derby, his power numbers have increased in the second half of the season. Prince participated in his fifth derby this week as he was eliminated in the first round on Monday night. He had won the derby in 2009 and 2012 which were the two seasons that his home run percentage increased in the second half of the season. Fans should not worry, because 2012 was also Prince’s worst power output in the second half of a season which has a lot to do with the fact that it was his first season playing in Comerica Park. Fielder’s slugging percentage decreased in three of the four seasons, but his other numbers including batting average, on base percentage, and walk rate also fluctuated. These numbers should not surprise fans because Fielder never gets cheated with his hard uppercut swing.

Here are Prince’s first half numbers in the years that he participated in the Home Run Derby:

2007: .284/.376/.620 29 HR, 70 RBI with 41 BB and 72 K’s in 87 GP, 324 AB’s, and 378 PA’s

2009: .315/.442/.614 22 HR, 78 RBI with 67 BB and 74 K’s in 88 GP, 308 AB’s, and 387 PA’s

2011: .297/415/.575 22 HR, 72 RBI with 59 BB and 58 K’s in 92 GP, 320 AB’s and 390 PA’s

2012: .299/.380/.505 15 HR, 63 RBI with 39 BB and 45 K’s in 86 GP, 321 AB’s and 371 PA’s

2013: .267/.363/.457 16 HR, 69 RBI with 50 BB and 74 K’s in 94 GP, 363 AB and 422 PA’s

Here are the second half numbers to compare:

2007: .293/.419/.614 21 HR, 49 RBI with 49 BB and 49 K’s in 71 GP, 249 AB’s, and 303 PA’s

2009: .283/.377/.590 24 HR, 63 RBI with 43 BB and 64 K’s in 74 GP, 283 AB’s, and 332 PA’s

2011: .301/.414/.554 16 HR, 48 RBI with 48 BB and 48 K’s in 70 GP, 249 AB’s and 302 PA’s

2012:  .331/.448/.558 15 HR, 45 RBI with 46 BB and 39 K’s in 76 GP, 260 AB’s and 319 AB’s

There are a lot of numbers listed right there and what is pretty evident is that participating in the Home Run Derby has not pushed Prince’s numbers in either direction. What does remain consistent is that Prince’s walk percentage has increased and, in all of the seasons but in 2009, his strikeouts decreased. His K:BB in the first half of the seasons (not counting 2013) were on average 1.21 K:BB whereas in the second half, Prince’s K:BB was on average 1.07 K:BB which still includes a year (2009) in which he struck out an awful lot in the second half.

The number that many fans want to see increase is Fielder’s home run numbers because they were used to seeing him play in Miller Park and not in Comerica Park. Prince’s home run rate increased in 2009 from 14.55 AB/HR (first half) to 11.79 AB/HR (second half) and in 2012 from 21.4 AB/HR to 17.33 AB/HR. Prince’s home run rate in the first half of 2013 was 22.69 AB/HR which is the worst of his career, so that rate should increase, but maybe not to the liking of fans who want to see Prince hit a home runs like he did in 2009 when he hit 46.

Statistically, this has been Prince’s worst season that he has participated in the Home Run Derby. Tigers’ fans should expect his walk rate to increase even though Victor Martinez has picked it up behind him in the order. Prince’s strikeout rate should decrease, batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage should all increase just based on his career numbers. Comparing Prince’s number from this year compared to last year, his power numbers and RBI’s should remain constant based on the number of games played in the two seasons.