Many people have discussed what type of a contract Prince Fielder should get this off season. The debate seems to hover around Fielder’s weight and whether the 27 year old will age well through a long term contract. The most analysis on the subject seems to be about how heavier baseball players produce as they age compared to a player with a leaner build.
I think that the subject could be a lot easier to analyze because of Prince’s father, Cecil Fielder. Since Cecil was also a large power hitting professional baseball player and they share the same bloodlines, we could assume that the father and son will age similarly.
So how did Cecil Fielder produce through his career?
Cecil Fielder –
From Cecil’s stat line above, you can see that after an above average season in 1996 Cecil’s power began to fade in 1997. His ISO dropped 82 points from the prior year though his walk rate and K rate were around average. Cecil still appeared to have a solid year at the plate with an OPS of .768, but his power definitely took a downward turn. Mike Carp was the only Mariner player with over 150 plate appearances and an OPS higher than .768 last season (.796)
What does this mean for Prince’s production?
Well if Prince ages like his father and doesn’t get injured, he should remain in his prime until he turns 33 years old. However Prince Fielder is a much better hitter than his father was, and could have some productive years after his prime as his power fades.
According to http://www.fangraphs.com Princes value averages out to $22.3mil over the last three seasons with an average WAR of 5.1. With Prince being worth over 5 wins a season and the value of a win currently sitting around $4.5mil. The production that Prince brings could be worth around $23mil over the next 5 seasons and then start to fade from there.
With Prince’s production at the plate and the value he adds to players around him in the lineup, I could see an American League team offering a little over $20mil a year to Fielder for 7 years and getting their money’s worth. The Mariners appear to be the only American League team that is in the running for Fielder and having a DH spot to place him in a couple years should make them to feel safer adding more years to a contract.