Who’s next to join Red Sox DH David Ortiz in 500 Home Run Club?
Sep 5, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder (84) walks back to the dugout after being forced out at first against the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Current Total: 306
Fielder blasted 28 homers in his first full season a the age of 22, so the early start certainly works in his favor. He followed that with a career-high 50 home runs in 2007 and went on to hit 30+ homers in each of the following 5 seasons.
2014 was essentially a lost season, as Fielder struggled through a neck injury that eventually required season-ending surgery. He attempted to fight through the pain for 42 games, but the injury sapped him of his power and he finished with only 3 home runs.
This year has seen Fielder establish himself again as one of the game’s most feared hitters, but the power hasn’t quite returned. He currently has 18 homers, which puts him on pace to set a career-low for any season in which he has played at least 50 games.
Perhaps Fielder will find his power stroke again the further he is removed from surgery. The 31-year old should still have plenty of time left in his career to get back on track, while his current contract should keep him in the hitter-friendly Rangers ballpark for at least another five years.
The biggest concern with Fielder is that his body type isn’t ideal for a long-lasting career. His father, Cecil Fielder, was also once one of the league’s best power hitters, until he faded drastically at the age of 33 and was out of the league a year later. Prince isn’t far from reaching the age at which his father’s career took a nose dive, so if he doesn’t get himself in better shape then he risks suffering a similar fate.
Verdict: Reasonable chance
Next: Ryan Braun