157, 158, 159, 162, 161, 162, 162, 162, 42.
Until last season, Prince Fielder rarely missed a game.
From the time he became a regular first baseman for Milwaukee in 2006 through his final season with Detroit in 2013, Prince Fielder missed just thirteen total games.
Just thirteen games in eight years.
And from 2009 through 2013, he missed just one game. In five seasons.
That’s Cal Ripken territory.
Then you look at that last number above—42.
In his first season with the Rangers, Fielder managed just 42 games. And most of those he was a shell of the guy he used to be.
Prince Fielder is everything you’d want in a player. He plays. The sun comes up, Fielder is at first, the sun sets.
In his eight previous seasons before Texas, he averaged 35 home runs and 108 RBIs per season.
In his first season with Texas, Fielder dribbled in three home runs and 16 RBIs.
Let’s say he gets to Prince-Fielder-average this year. We’re talking 32 more home runs and 93 more RBIs. That is a difference maker, even if he doesn’t quite get to be the Prince Fielder Prince Fielder has been in the past.
Sprinkle in 93 RBIs throughout the 2014 season and imagine how many more games this team would have won just from him alone.
Getting a healthy Fielder back will have as much impact as if the Rangers traded for Stanton.
The only chance the Rangers have to compete this year is if Prince Fielder comes close to the .527 lifetime slugging percentage player he was before he got to the Rangers, and not the .360 slugging percentage guy he was with the Rangers last season.
As was proven last year, this team goes only as far as Fielder goes.
I hope his neck is strong enough to help him find his power stroke once again. More importantly, I hope his back is strong enough to carry a team. And a fan base.