Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
This is not the first time I've written an article like this. In fact, its the third year in a row I've printed the "warning" or "recommendation" after noticing a definitive pattern in this player's fantasy production. Here it is...Prince Fielder, the newly acquired, highly-paid, first baseman of the Detroit Tigers produces decidedly better statistics in odd-numbered seasons.
Here are the facts;
In even numbered seasons from 2006 through 2010, the former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman averaged just .266 with 87 runs scored, 31 home runs and 88 runs batted in. He's never hit more than 34 homers in an even-numbered year, knocked in more than 102 runs or batted better than .276.
In odd numbers years, not including 2005 when he was called up for 59 at-bats, his averages jump to .295, 102 runs, 44 home runs and 126 RBIs. He's never hit less than 38 homers, knocked in less than 119 runs or batted less than .288.
This is 2012, so my warning is that you will likely pay too much if you want Mr. Fielder on your roster this season. The price, based on early fantasy rankings even before he signed with Detroit, was as the No.12 overall pick. He was listed as high as No.5 and as low as No.18 in the six sample sites I evaluated. That perceived value could rise now that he's paired with Miguel Cabrera instead of with a Brewers' offense that is scheduled to be without their MVP outfielder, Ryan Braun, for the first 50 games due to his suspension.
Frankly, you can get 30 homers and 80 RBIs from a first baseman for a lot less than the No.12 overall selection. In fact, eight first baseman hit those totals last year and 22 players overall produced at that level.
Here are a few examples of guys who reached those totals but at a much lower cost to his fantasy owner - Michael Morse (selected at No.342), Lance Berkman (No.279), Curtis Granderson (No.101), Jacoby Ellsbury (No.88), Mark Reynolds (No.86) and Mike Stanton (No.79). Each of these guys was selected in round seven or later - not the first or second round as Fielder was in 2011.
Bottom line - Fielder will not be a bargain in 2012, but be sure to place him back on your "target list" in 2013.