Prince Fielder Eats Bad Pitchers

In the wake of the madness caused by the Blue Jays decision to extend Dustin McGowan for 2013 and 2014 after he’s pitched all of 21 innings in the Majors since 2008, and my galling suggestion that this might be a curious decision on the part of the club, I’ve found myself in a number of online arguments. In one of them I was being accosted for being open to the idea of the Jays signing Prince Fielder to a mammoth contract, but against McGowan’s deal. Money, of course, has nothing to do with my confusion over the McGowan deal, but this was an internet fight, so such trivial concerns as accurately representing what you’re arguing against don’t matter so much.

What matters is that I was for Prince Fielder, who spent 2011 padding his numbers by crushing dingers off the soft-tossing junk-balling has-beens of the NL Central– barely a step above triple-A, relative to the American League East.

This, I thought to myself, is surely a textbook example of an absurd notion being put forth by some clod hellbent on disagreeing me no matter what. Uh… then I looked at Fielder’s home run log for 2011…

Comments (34)

  1. Wow, other than Hanson, Carpenter, and maybe Bud Norris there isn’t a single decent pitcher on that list. Nice find.

    • Aren’t Dempster and Nolasco good?

      • They’re decent, but I certainly wouldn’t categorize them as “Good”.

      • Dempster is decent, but somewhat home-run prone. Got very unlucky last year in terms of ERA. Vazquez is another good pitcher on Fielder’s list. Still, 6 guys I’ve never even heard of is quite a few.

  2. Is this different than most power hitters? Not everyone is Bautista hitting dingers off every King and Doc.

  3. Three of the pitchers on that list are on my team in my (albeit deep) fantasy pool for 2012 so I’ll thank you for shutting the fuck up.

    (Bonus points for guess who they are…)

  4. I liked “Price Fielder” better…
    Get it? Cuz he makes lots of money now! and is a TRADER!

  5. Wait… you wanted to sign Fielder? I thought you were against it.

  6. I don’t understand the purpose of this post. Good hitters hit the majority of their HRs off mediocre pitchers, we already knew that. That’s because part of being a good pitcher entails limiting the amount of HRs you give up. Matt Kemp led the NL in HRs and had the same 2 HRs off good pitchers.

    • I agree. This post needs a comparison to the average behavior of the other big HR hitters in the league, e.g., Bautista, Granderson, Cabrera, etc.

      • Your wish is my command.

        Jose Bautista 2011 homers:

        W Davis
        G Moscoso
        J Lester
        N Blackburn
        J Tomlin
        D Haren
        B Colon
        K Slowey
        J Niemann
        T Wakefield
        B Myers
        B Penny
        F Garcia
        R VandenHurk
        E Jackson
        D Price
        K Slowey
        F Salas
        C Perez
        C Lee
        D Price
        R Halladay
        J Hellickson
        B Beachy
        A Burnett
        D Price
        J Lester
        J Nathan
        C Lewis
        B Duensing
        R Soriano
        J Howell
        J Valdez
        T Sipp
        C Pavano
        K Kendrick
        J Hoey
        J Papelbon
        K Correia
        A Laffey
        T Patton
        L Hochevar

        • I was thinking more like avg WAR or avg xFIP of the pitchers they hit HRs off of. But thanks…Bautista is good to say the least. Halladay and Lee? Amazing.

        • Remember the one he hit off David Price? He made his pitch but Bau Bau still crushed it. Price gave a ‘well what can you do?’ sort of smile as the ball left the yard.

        • Bautista’s list is significantly more impressive.

          Papelbon, Price (thrice), Lee, Hellickson, Colon (who was good last year). Haren, E-Jax

          I would say all of those guys (except Colon and possibly EJax) are better then th ebest pitcher Prince hit one off of.

          Like to see a combined ERA of all the pitchers though. Or FIP or what have you.

  7. Fielder added 6.547 in Win probability with his 38 homeruns, Bautista 6.298 with his 43. . . I was going to try and explain that but then i looked at who Jose was hitting his homers off.

    • On top of that, Bautista’s average Leverage Index when he hits a homer: 1.07
      Curtis Granderson: 1.05
      Prince Fielder: 1.135

      So, Prince Fielder hits homers against shittier pitchers, but also hits them when it counts more.

      • This screams randomness. Generally, one would expect inferior pitchers to be pitching in lower-leverage situations.

  8. This site does an excellent job in evaluating performance “by the numbers.” It is nowhere near as good when actions taken have nothing to do with numbers. Such is the case with the McGowan signing. With that signing AA and Beest sent a clear message to the agents of MLB players. “If you are a Blue Jay, you are family: you WILL be treated right; you WILL be taken care of.” For a club that has trouble signing free agents (in a foreign country/artificial turf/going through customs etc.) the value of that kind of a public relations move cannot be quantified. From the Jays point of view, if McGowan actually pitches, that is a BONUS. They’ve already accomplished what they set out to do. Could not make that move in a salary cap world, but there is no salary cap in baseball. This was not about buying a pitcher. It was about buying goodwill.

  9. Yeah this is pretty pointless, good home run hitters hit lots of homeruns off lousy pitchers, surprise surprise. go check out manny lee’s home run log and check out who he hit some of his hr’s off.

  10. There are plenty of crappy pitchers in the AL. Prince won’t have a hard time finding new pitchers to eat. Some are even vegan-friendly.

    • Good for him that he’s in the AL central though versus the other two divisions. And that the best pitcher in the division is on his team :)

  11. Parkes tweet built this “very important discovery” up way too much. I thought it was going to be something like “Stoeten learns that beard trimmers exist”. Or that Stoeten had perfected how burrito’s should be wrapped.

    • A post on how to wrap the perfect burrito WOULD be appreciated. File it under the Getting Blanked recipe log.

  12. So…predictions for how many HR’s Fielder hits this year?

    My guess….32.

  13. I’m pretty sure the main difference between who Fielder homered off of vs. Bautista is that there are simply more shitty pitchers in the NL (specifically Central) compared to the AL (specifically East). Looking at Fielders list, sure there are alot of shitty pitchers, but most of the pitchers there are passable in the NL (and therefore still have jobs this year). Bautista hit lots of homers off 3rd/4th/5th starters in the AL, its just that those pitchers are alot better than the 3rd/4th/5th starters that Fielder hit (Davis, Hellickson, Niemann, Colon, Jackson etc. vs Karstens, Duke, Gorzelanny, Pelfrey, etc.)

    That Bautista list is still pretty impressive though…

  14. Michael Garncarz: Meh

  15. Don’t forget Comerica

  16. Now I’m not so sure it was a good idea to take fielder so high in my draft. Especially since I took him over Votto.

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