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Prince Fielder has dropped weight; Adrian Beltre predicts he’ll win the MVP

Jan 26, 2014, 10:44 AM EST

Prince Fielder AP

It’s premature to call this a Best Shape of His Life report — we need a bit more — but be it known that Prince Fielder is officially on BSOHL watch:

He has dropped weight. He has dumped the dreadlocks in favor of a high-and-tight haircut. He will move into the featured No. 3 spot in the Rangers’ order.

“He’s going to get the MVP,” Adrian Beltre said Friday night during the club’s awards gathering at the Gaylord Texan. “It’s his time to win it. My job is to protect him so that he gets there.”

That report from Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning news. A photo of his high-and-tight haircut is there too. It’s shorter than it was even for his introduction as a Ranger a couple of months ago. It’s hard to tell whether he’s really dropped a lot of weight given the angle of the shot and the fact that he’s wearing a suit. Everyone looks good in a well-made suit.

The more interesting thing about the article is that it spends most of its time talking about the concept of lineup protection. The protection he was said to give Ryan Braun and then Miguel Cabrera as he hit cleanup for most of his career. And how, now, he’s going to hit third and how that is going to do him wonders.

I find this all fairly questionable and, ultimately, unverifiable. Most studies of the concept either debunk or diminish the concept of lineup protection. Braun and Cabrera are great hitters so they’d hit anyway and the evidence that they hit better because of Fielder’s presence skews heavily anecdotal/assertive. People say he provided protection, ergo he does.

And, sure, maybe Fielder will have an MVP-season in Texas this year. If he does I’m sure a lot of people will attribute it to him moving up to the three-slot. I’m also sure those who do will diminish the impact of moving to a ballpark that is far better tailored to his swing than Comerica Park was.

Oh well. Offseason talk.

  1. missthemexpos - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Now if he wins the MVP this year will it be because of shedding some pounds or will it be because of shedding the dreadlocks?

    • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      See Judges 16.

      • stex52 - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Yeah, yeah, but remember, no religion in the workplace.

        He is in Dallas now, for gosh sake. He is just going “business casual.”

    • mick2014 - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      Nice to see him get a decent trim because he looked like a loser bum with the dreds.

  2. sabatimus - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Prince Fielder has dropped weight; I predict he’ll have to revamp the mechanics of his swing.

  3. louhudson23 - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Between the “debunking” of RBI and now “protection”,hell just bat the pitcher and whoever else sucks in the 3-4 slot….what difference does it make?

    • cohnjusack - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Ahh, I love when people childishly argue like this. “Well, if you support food stamps then you must love Joe Stalin!”…that kind of thing. No, see, they are different things.

      You see lou, the reason we’ve “debunked” protection is because data in baseball is recorded. And that data has shown no discernible difference between a players performance when good players are hitting directly behind them or not.

      Batting your worst hitter 4th would be a bit silly if you’re batting one of your high on-base guys first like most teams do, therefore decreasing the likelihood that guy will get knocked in.

  4. rje49 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Yeah, the idea of a batter providing “protection” certainly has been a questionably one. Don’t know if there are any stats to prove/disprove the concept, but maybe asking opposing pitchers if they actually pitch to the “protector” any differently would shed some light on it. Assuming an honest answer, that is.

    • mikhelb - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      “maybe asking opposing pitchers if they actually pitch to the “protector” any differently would shed some light on it”.

      That’s what CC calls “anecdotal evidence”. Stats show that pitchers overall don’t pitch different to a “protected player” than to a “protector”, but those stats are averaged and that’s part of the flaw, because the reason behind the concept of “lineup protection” is that there are not a lot of guys pitchers consider as “protected by”. There is an extreme example of it: Barry Bonds.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    I predict the jays finish 30+ games out of first!!

    I don’t always post on this board but when I do read it closely and stay thirsty my friend

  6. rma0915 - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    No. Prince has always had his violent home run swing and he’s definitely not changing it now that he has the short porch in right field to look at. He’ll hit close to 50 homers with the protection of Beltre.

    • mikhelb - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      shhhh craig says “protection” doesn’t exist, you know, kind of like “PEDs don’t help players”.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        shhhh craig says “protection” doesn’t exist, you know, kind of like “PEDs don’t help players”.

        Math and research say it doesn’t exist. But keep fighting the good fight…

  7. Lone Star - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    “I find this all fairly questionable and, ultimately, unverifiable.”

    I feel the same way about most off-season articles when the writer is speculating as Fraley did here.

    • mikhelb - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      But but but… what would copy/paste article writers like Craig and some at YahooSports+Hardballtalk do in the offseason if speculation didn’t exist?

  8. rhmurphy - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    “[Lineup protection is a myth] is a sabermetric myth.” – Tom Tango http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14010

  9. nymets4ever - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Uh…pretty sure guys like Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jhonny Peralta qualify as “protection,” so I don’t think that will be a new concept for Fielder in Texas.

    Also, I don’t know where you get your information, but I hear PLENTY of people acknowledge and talk about park factors – far more than they talk about batting order, as a matter of fact. So there’s no need to act like you’re Mr. Enlightened who’s in on something everyone else isn’t.

  10. musketmaniac - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    a skinny panda now a skinny prince. yet my image of baseball players are pot-bellied guys who weren’t capable athletes to compete anywhere else. bowling maybe

    • extavernmouse - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a ballplayer.” — John Kruk, caught smoking a cigarette.

  11. aceshigh11 - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    “I dropped 15 pounds…yeah, from your belly to your ass!”

    — Andrew Dice Clay

  12. weaselpuppy - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    I predict a rebound season because he’ll be able to concentrate more this year….except when the White Sox come into town….

  13. historiophiliac - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    /sobs

  14. musketmaniac - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    medically there is the 30lbs per cock inch. lose 30 lbs gain an inch on your cock. he shouldn’t stop at a half inch.

  15. brianc6234 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Bwahaha. The Rangers might finish third or lower in the AL West. No MVP for Princey. That will definitely go to Mike Trout this year. He’s way better than that old man anyway.

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