MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 11: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers runs after hitting a home run as fans cheer against the St. Louis Cardinals at the Miller Park on June 11, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Prince Fielder is the captain of the NL squad in the 2011 Home Run Derby, so let us talk about him and his home runs!
Prince Fielder won the 2009 Home Run Derby by swatting 23 dingers, which was two more than Nelson Cruz's 21 dingers. Because Fielder won the 2009 derby, he was invited back for the 2011 derby, and even made the NL team captain (ed. note: this year there are teams). But for our purposes here, we care less about the three other players Fielder invited, and more about Fielder himself. What do we have in Prince Fielder, in terms of being a derby participant?
In Fielder, we have the classic slugger mold. He's a big fellow who hits his fly balls really hard. In 2007, he homered 50 times. In 2009, he homered 46 times. This year, with offense down league-wide, he's on pace for 39. And Fielder doesn't only blast home runs - he demolishes them. As you can see at the online hit tracker, Fielder owns the longest home run hit so far this season, at 486 feet. He's also hit one 443, he's averaging 406, and he can hit the ball out to all fields.
Fielder, then, is pretty much an ideal candidate for this thing. He's a threat to go on a big run and knock out 15 dingers in a round, and he's also a threat to hit any given pitch 500 feet. The only things that make the derby even remotely watchable are streaks and moonshots, and Fielder is capable of both.
Which, naturally, means he will come through with neither, because the home run derby is 100% completely unpredictable and this year's will probably be won by Robinson Cano or like Austin Jackson as a last-minute replacement. Fielder seems perfect, and he seems like an excellent candidate to put on a show and/or win, but, who knows, right? The samples are too small, the format too weird. I'll tell you as an analyst that Chase Field is more home run-friendly for lefties than righties, but who's to say if that's going to end up mattering? Who even cares?
Fielder could entertain and emerge victorious, or he could also not, and it's conceivable that he could even fall short of his teammate Rickie Weeks, which would be embarrassing given that Fielder invited Weeks himself. The only thing we can say for certain is that Fielder's rounds will take unusually long because they will be delayed by a few dozen of these: