Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections are a good measure of what to expect from players in the upcoming baseball season. We'll take a look at the Rangers' projections on a position-by-position basis. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
Today we'll look at the projections for the Rangers at first base, which is a position the team needs much more production from this season while hoping for a healthy Prince Fielder to emerge after a disastrous 2014, his first season in Texas, ended after just 42 games with a mere three homers.
Fielder:592 plate appearances, 26 doubles, 21 home runs, 72 RBIs, .262 batting average, .360 on-base percentage, .437 slugging percentage
These numbers are not encouraging for Fielder, who would be continuing his decline if these numbers hold true. At age 31, Fielder wasn't brought in to hit just more than 20 homers, and the Rangers really need to count on at least 30 from him to make him worth the money.
Another concerning note from Szymborski on Fielder was his WAR, or wins above replacement. The projection has Fielder's WAR at just 1, meaning he's basically a replacement-level player. Fielder is reportedly 100 percent health-wise after his spinal fusion surgery, and that bodes well. Now, Rangers fans just need to hope these projections are way off-base because Fielder's production is really the top key to a rebound season for the Rangers.