Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's not like we didn't give you enough advance warning that Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder was going to post "monster numbers" this season. It was back in mid-January that we said he'd be a fantasy superstar in 2011.
We wrote: "In the case of Fielder, it's as simple as looking at a calendar. In even-numbered seasons, Fielder averages .269 with 87 runs scored, 31 HRs and 88 RBIs. In odd years, his statistics make a drastic jump to .292, 106 runs, 48 HRs and 130 RBIs. Add to this that Fielder is in the final year of his contract. Early drafts have him being selected near the end of the second round (ADP 19.6). Make sure you pick him up at the start of the round or even the end of the first round -- he'll be worth every penny."
After slamming two home runs on Wednesday night, Fielder ran his total to 17, just one behind National League leader Matt Kemp and three behind major league leader Jose Bautista. Fielder has a slugging percentage of .607 and a stunning OPS of 1.011. He leads the league in RBIs with 55 and also, unfortunately, in intentional walks.
Still, there are going to be question marks surrounding Fielder for the remainder of the season, because it's unlikely that the Brewers have the financial power to re-sign the big left-handed power hitter to the "mega-deal" he's looking for this coming offseason.
Which means there is a good possibility that Milwaukee will send him to another team before the late-July trade deadline. Considering that Miller Park currently ranks third in "Ball Park Factor," it's likely that he'll be heading to a less hitter-friendly stadium.
Meanwhile, the Brewers rank fourth in the National League in runs-per-game (4.29) and 11th overall. Of the teams scoring more than Milwaukee, at least half of them don't need help at first base, even help as talented as Fielder. Therefore, it's likely that along with going to a less hitter-friendly park, he would be headed to a team which scores few runs.
The best news would be for Milwaukee to announce that they are going to keep their highly-valued first baseman for the remainder of the season. That they are going to make a run at the championship and hope for a "home town discount" at contract time after winning it all.
It's certainly not out of the question.
Milwaukee is just 2 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. And the Brewers have a better pitching staff, both starters and at the back end of the bullpen where St. Louis has struggled to find a pitcher who can successfully finish the ninth inning.
And once you're in the playoffs, anything can happen.
But as Fielder's statistics rise through the roof, so will his contract asking price. Having already signed outfielder Ryan Braun to a big contract, there's a limit to what a small-market team like Milwaukee can offer.
It's a tough dilemma for Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.
And it's this unknown decision which scares fantasy owners.
Thinking about Fielder playing first base for Texas, in that highly-productive lineup, would be a fantasy owner's dream scenario. But Fielder in Seattle, Oakland, Anaheim or Tampa Bay would not be a fantasy-friendly deadline deal.
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