You know things aren’t going your way when you get moved down in the lineup, especially when you have been penciled in as the 3 or 4-hole hitter all season. Well, that’s what happened to Prince Fielder, who hasn’t had the best of starts to the 2016 season.
Maybe I’m alone on this, but I just don’t seem too worried about whether the Texas Rangers DH/first baseman finally finds his groove. Basically because I think he will. Sure, the numbers aren’t exactly All-Star caliber: .192 batting average, two home runs, 18 RBI with a .241 on-base percentage. I also realize that so far my argument isn’t looking good.
Here’s the thing, it’s a long season, 162 games to be exact. Hitters have their ups and downs during that time. It could just be the case that Fielder is getting his out of the way early. Keep in mind, his 14 RBI through April 21st were tied for second in the A.L., despite the batting average being sub-par.
At some point this season, barring any injuries, I expect Fielder to go on a tear. Maybe being demoted down to the fifth spot in the lineup could light the fire. Now you have a chip on your shoulder because you realize you weren’t doing your job and now got something to prove. Plus, you could possibly see a different approach and mixture of pitches from opposing pitchers in that spot and possibly more opportunities with runners in scoring position.
Right now, the Rangers need power and production from the middle of the lineup. Getting Fielder going will be crucial to make that more formable. Yes, he may not be the power hitter he once was, appearing to be more of an opposite field hitter who takes what the pitchers give him. The power is still there, and the Rangers would like to see it.
This could be the wake-up call needed to get things going.
Written by C. James