Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball Dugout  |  Last updated 1/4/12

Did Prince Fielder make a New Year's Resolution to lose weight?

Whether you run a major league franchise or a fantasy baseball team, Prince Fielder represents a risk to your team’s long term success. There has been much ado in the sports media recently about Prince Fielder perhaps joining a new team (or re-signing with his old club) as a free agent for the 2012 season. Armed with a professional athlete’s ego and uber-agent Scott Boras in tow, Fielder has made it clear he is looking for a long-term contract. Upon first glance, this looks like a no-brainer. He is a 27-year old slugger coming off a season which saw him hit 38 HR (good for 2nd in the National League) and 120 RBI (also 2nd in the N.L.). Based upon his age and his stats alone, Fielder looks like the kind of player that a major league team (or fantasy baseball owner) would fight tooth-and-nail to place on their roster. However, that might not be the wisest of moves.

Fielder has been remarkably consistent over his career. He has played in 157, 158, 159, 162, 161 and 162 games since 2006. Consistency like that is pretty rare this side of Cal Ripken, Jr. However, past consistency is only one aspect to consider when evaluating a player’s potential. Heading into the 2011 season, fantasy baseball owners were electrified with the prospect of owning a certain player coming off a run of steady home run totals from 2005 through 2010. This particular slugger’s home run totals through that time frame read as follows: 40, 40, 40, 40, 38, 38. You would be hard pressed to beat consistency such as this. This player was sure to deliver another clockwork season of offensive production, right? Not if you drafted Adam Dunn, who both boasted those aforementioned HR totals as well as one of the worst offensive seasons in history in 2011.

Fielder has also been remarkably durable for a big man. He has only missed a total of 13 games since the start of the 2006 season. However, this doesn’t mean he is a viable option for the next decade, and no mistake about it, Fielder will be looking for a contract that runs approximately 10 years. Big bodies tend to break down faster than their slimmer counterparts. One needs to look no further than the career declines experienced by players such as Mo Vaughn, Kent Hrbek or his father, Cecil Fielder for proof of this. The question is not whether he has been durable in the past. He has. The question is how durable he will continue to be as his large frame endures the constant wear and tear of lumbering through 6 full major league seasons.

Another issue that affects his on-field major league team but not the majority of fantasy leagues is the issue of his defense. His last name may be “Fielder” but this is not reflective in his defensive play. His UZR has been a negative statistic in 5 of his 6 full seasons with 2 seasons (2006 and 2008) almost reaching double digits (-9.4 and -9.2, respectively). Although most fantasy leagues do not consider defensive metrics in their scoring systems, it is something to consider when evaluating the overall strengths and weaknesses of a baseball player.

Although his short-term prospects for success look promising, if you have an eye for the future (especially in dynasty fantasy baseball leagues), this Prince may end up performing more like a Court Jester before his contract expires.

Our guest writer today is Chris McBrien who is a baseball writer for numerous baseball websites and may be found at Dear Mr. Fantasy and can be followed on Twitter @cmcbrien. The opinions expressed by Mr. McBrien are not necessarily those expressed by Fantasy Baseball Dugout. We happen to believe that Prince Fielder is a valuable asset for fantasy baseball 2012 and will continue to be a viable designated hitter if he ends up in the American League.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Blake Griffin opts out of contract to become free agent

Report: Wolves targeting Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, other point guards in free agency

Conor McGregor’s coach says tentative plans include a return to UFC in 2017

Report: Mets open for business on the trade market

Markelle Fultz believes the Sixers are already a playoff team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jimmy Butler’s attitude toward Fred Hoiberg made players ‘uncomfortable’

St. Louis Cardinals to hold first LGBTQ Pride Night

John Mara: Extending Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t team’s No. 1 priority

Mike Trout reportedly wanted to sign ‘lifetime deal’ with Angels

Blackhawks, Blue Jackets swap Artemi Panarin, Brandon Saad

Matt Forte expected to be ‘offensive workhorse’ for Jets?

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker