After signing a 9-year, $214 million deal in January to join the Junior Circuit, Prince Fielder vaunted the Tigers to AL Central favorites, including discussions of a title run. This was especially important after the major ACL surgery that Detroit catcher Victor Martinez was forced to undergo, prior to signing the slugging first baseman.
Fielder, now slated to play first base, with Miquel Cabrera shifting to third, could have people wondering how often he will slot into the designated hitter position. Over the last four seasons, Fielder has averaged 161 games played, with two seasons where he did not miss a single game; all this coming in a league with no DH. To produce big power numbers week in and week out while rarely taking a day off is a testament to Fielder's ability to stay on the field. He also does not hurt the Tigers defensively, boasting a career .992 fielding percentage, right around the league average.
Playing for the Brewers, Fielder saw limited action against the American League, totaling 57 games since ’08, 30 of which were against the American League Central Division. With the Tigers slated to play 144 games American League opponents this season, Fielder is projected to post a line of .287/.376/.627/1.002/45/109 (Avg/OBP/Slug/OPS/HR/RBI). Most of his games will be coming against the American League Central, which based on career success versus that division, he is projected to hit .261/.348/.514/.862/13/46.
Fielder will remain in the four spot for the Tigers for years to come. If he can live up to the 162 game projection for his numbers this season (.287/.376/.617/.993/50/121) while also living up to his career fielding percentage, he will definitely have been a great investment.