We continue our ranking of the top 10 Texas Rangers with a look at a veteran first baseman.
No. 3 Prince Fielder
2014 stats: 42 games, 150 AB, .247/.360/.360, 3 HRs, 16 RBIs, -0.3 WAR
2015 projected stats: 138 games, 510 AB, .282/.380/.483, 24 HRs, 86 RBIs, 2.4 WAR
AL West rank: It’s hard to evaluate Fielder with the rest of the division since he missed the majority of last season with a pinched nerve. It's fair to say that Albert Pujols (28 HRs, 105 RBIs last season) is the alpha dog of the first basemen in the division, with Fielder behind him. But if Fielder can produce at his 35 homer, 108 RBI rate he averaged in his eight full seasons before joining the Rangers, that could move him past Pujols. Ike Davis enters the division with Oakland, and Logan Morrison (Seattle) and Jon Singleton (Houston) are solid players at first who should be productive.
Outlook: Is Fielder ranked too high? Given a team-high $24 million salary in 2015 and the expectations he came in with as a 25-30 homer, 100 RBI hitter, he’s right where he should be. Fielder says he’s healthy and will become a run producer like he was with Milwaukee and Detroit. Considering how bad the Rangers offense was without him, seemingly anything he delivers is a plus. The Rangers want more. They need a healthy Fielder if they are to return to the top of the AL West.
Projections from Steamer Projections, via Fan Graphs.