Let's get back to work on some month-by-month hitter projections and turn to the big man.
For some background on what these are and what they mean, read the introduction to the JJ Hardy article from last week.
One thing I haven't mentioned (I just plain forgot) is that these numbers are neutral. That is, they aren't adjusted for league or park. The advantage is that we don't have to think as hard if we're looking at free agents, or if a player is traded...but we do have a think a bit, since the NL is easier than the AL, and Miller is a teeny bit hitter-friendly. So if you add 10 or 15 OPS points to account for all that, it's about right.
So here we go with Prince's numbers:
I'm starting to feel like a broken record here, but Fielder ends up being similar to Hart and Hardy in one regard. Over the course of the season, we get really invested in their ups and downs, but a slump--even a month-long one--just doesn't have much impact on a measured projection.
In Fielder's case, the sensible among us figured he probably wasn't going to put up another 50 HR, .618 SLG season, especially since those numbers were so much higher than the previous season's. Not that he couldn't have, of course, but the odds were against it.
That doesn't mean the 2007 campaign didn't mean anything--it drastically improved his prospects for the upcoming season. The end-of-season MINER projection was a little optimistic, but not horribly so. And because his '08 performance was in the ballpark (and MINER assumes he'll get better for another few years), we can make a similar prediction about next year.
As with Corey Hart, his 2007 season made it easy to dream big--really big, in this case--and made it harder to appreciate his performance for what it was. Prince Fielder may not be Prince Albert, but marking down a 920ish OPS (935ish in the NL for Milwaukee) is a nice situation to be in.