Prince Fielder has been one of the more disappointing players in fantasy baseball this season. If you drafted him, you are probably wondering how he has managed only 35 RBI’s despite hitting 17 home runs. Normally, when players with good HR totals are not driving in runs, the explanation is simple: their teammates are not getting on base. But an in-depth look at Fielder’s statistics makes the totals even more surprising.
Fielder actually leads the entire major leagues in plate appearances with a runner on base. But amazingly, during Fielder’s at bats this season, only 7.7% of these runners have scored. This percentage is second worst in the entire major leagues among everyday players (luckily, Ronny Cedeno is at 7.5%). There hasn’t been a prominent power hitter who posted percentages this low in recent memory, and by comparison, many hitters not on the field for their ability to drive in runs (Scott Posednik, Tommy Manzella, Juan Pierre, etc) are posting percentages much better than Fielder.
Normally, I look at RBI opportunities to see if a player’s totals are artificially inflated. For example, even though Howie Kendrick has been great driving in runs this season, his totals are slightly inflated because of a high number of runners on third base. I never thought a player could post RBI percentages so bad I would end up highly recommending them, but in Fielder’s case, I think these totals make him a perfect “buy low” candidate. Fielder is an excellent power hitter whose lineup is giving him a plethora of chances to drive in runs, and the 17 home runs show he can still hit for power. These percentages are also grossly below his career totals. For example, in 2009, 19.8% of runners scored during Fielder’s AB’s (career average is around 16%).
Therefore, if his low percentage can revert back to his career average, expect a huge increase in RBI production from Fielder during the second half.