Prince Fielder is healthy.
If I can still type that sentence come September he’ll likely be the best first baseman in the American League West and the Rangers won’t be 95-loss division cellar dwellers.
Delete his rookie season when he had only 59 at-bats and last season when he hit only three homers in 42 games because of a neck injury, and Fielder over his eight-year career averages 35 homers and 108 RBI.
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At only 30, he should be – barring more health issues – in the prime of his career and playing in the perfect ballpark.
Despite the presence of Albert Pujols in Anaheim, I’m saying an average year by Fielder makes him the West’s best. A look at the division first basemen:
1. Rangers, Prince Fielder – Given his clean bill of health, talent, surroundings and potential to hit 40 homers in Arlington, he’s baseball pre-season favorite for Comeback Player of the Year.
2. Astros, Chris Carter – Former A’s reject has been a monster in Houston, producing 66 homers and 170 RBI in two seasons.
3. Angels, Albert Pujols – 35-year-old showed signs of life last season with 28 homers and 105 RBI after trending down for three straight years. Was it a last gasp or a second wind?
4. A’s, Ike Davis – Acquired in a trade from the Pirates this Winter, he hit 32 homers with the Mets in 2012. Was New York’s Opening Day starter in 2014 but eventually bounced around to three different teams.
5. Mariners, Logan Morrison – Once upon a time Seattle thought this position would be held down forever by former Ranger Justin Smoak. But he hit only .202 last season, handing the job to a 27-year-old journeyman who hit 11 homers in 100 games in 2014.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.