The Baseball Struggles of Tall/Heavy Players After 30: Is Prince Next?
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I am still astounded when I see that Prince Fielder has not been turned into a Full – Time DH – and can still man the position of First Base. The Tigers were lucky enough to sign him last year.
So when should the club decide to take the glove out of Fielder’s hand?
Victor Martinez is there at the Designated Hitter position now, however they should convert Prince Fielder to DH the second V-Mart vacates the club after the 2014 season.
When I thought about this a little more I realized that tall/heavy hitters really have a tough time keeping their productivity up once they are near the second half of their career. It is really not that hard to figure out.
A player that is taller also carries a larger Strike Zone, where the overweight players will only lose any speed they had as their career starts winding down.
Prince Fielder wins the 2012 HR Derby:
Tony Clark (Career .262 Avg, 252 HR and 824 RBI)
At age 30, the Boston Red Sox now had Clark as their 1st Baseman. This was short-lived as the man struggled in Beantown.
In 2003 and 2004, Clark spent time as injury relief for both of the New York teams.
The Mets used Clark when Mo Vaughn retired in 2003, while the Yankees had him play 1st base when Jason Giambi was out for the year with stomach pains in 2004.
In both cases Clark responded with 16 HRs, in half of the at-bats of a regular year. Tony Clark played regularly during the next season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting 30 HRs in only 130 games, while also Slugging a career best .636.
The man struggled to stay healthy after that year, although he provided some nice pop as a pinch hitter. His career as a regular had been over since he had turned 33.
Richie Sexson (Career .261 Avg, 306 HR and 943 RBI)
In 2007, Richie Sexson only hit .205 and was Striking out on the outside pitch at the knees frequently. We are talking about a professional hitter who put together 6 -100 RBI seasons.
Within a year, Sexson was out of the league without any takers. It wasn’t a real gradual drop either.
At Age 31, the man hit 34 HRs and 107 RBI for Seattle, a place where half of his games were played at pitcher friendly Safeco Field.
Mo Vaughn (Career.293 Avg, 328 HRs and 1064 RBI)
The man was a beast in his Boston days. After posting 2 decent years with the then ‘California Angels’ hitting 30 HRs and driving in 100+ RBI, Vaughn signed with the New York Mets.
Vaughn showed up to camp out of shape (at age 34) and slumped in his first year with the Mets. More health issues came up the next year and a knee injury brought the man to retirement. Those were knee problems that arose very likely from carrying all that extra weight on his frame.
Cecil Fielder (Career .255 Avg, 319 HRs and 1008 RBI)
This was a classic example of what I am talking about. With the Toronto Blue Jays, Cecil hit 31 HRs in only 504 ABs. But there was a problem. The Jays featured AL Home Run king Fred McGriff at that time – with John Olerud in the system, so Cecil Fielder was off to play in Japan for a season.
Earlier in Cecil’s career, he was much leaner until he joined the Detroit Tigers. In 1990, ‘Big Daddy’ signed with the Detroit Tigers and went on to hit 51 HRs and drove in 132 RBI It was the first time a player had hit 50 HRs in a year since George Foster did it in 1977.
At age 34 Cecil was big and slow and ended his career after a great 10 year run.
So maybe this is the reason that teams had not signed Prince Fielder to a huge 8 + years contract until the Tigers swooped in and made a 9 YR/$214 Million Dollar offer.
Based on my research, the most I would have given Prince was a 5-year deal. The Tigers could have paid him more annually for a shorter term, but not make the mistake as other teams have made in the past by adding additional years.
Many of the teams that sign these huge 9 Figure Contracts are happy at first to secure the players – only to regret the 2nd half of these big contracts – when the production falls off dramatically into their mid 30’s.
At some point, Cabrera, Verlander and Fielder will also be broken up, with one of them leaving. It seems to me that the reigning MVP might price himself out of Motown in a few years. The two men both can’t play the DH position, plus by then, neither of them would make sense to play in at a defensive position either.
Whatever happens – I do not want to add Prince to this list (with his dad) after his career is over.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***
Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames: To learn more about my “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days – click here.
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Posted on April 12, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged arizona diamondbacks, baseball, boston redsox, california angels, cecil fielder, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, Cincinatti Reds, detroit tigers, fred mcGriff, george foster, heavy player, jason giambi, john olerud, justin verlander, miguel cabrera, milwaukee brewers, mlb, mo vaughn, new york mets, new york yankees, prince fielder, richie sexon, safeco field, seattle mariners, tall player, tino martinez, tony clark, toronto blue jays, twitter @chuckbooth3024, victor martinez. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.