Thanks to the good offices of Mike Vassallo of the Brewers and Joe Hamrahi of Baseball Digest Daily, we had the opportunity this past weekend of spending a few minutes on the phone with Prince Fielder. In case you need yet another confirmation, Prince is an incredibly nice guy--the kind of player you want on your team, not just because he's really, really good.
BCB: Hi Prince. Thanks for talking with us and congratulations on a great first half so far.
PF: Thank you.
BCB: Now that you're up with the Brewers for good and have a regular full time job, can you talk a little about the transition going from AAA to the Majors?
PF: It's a little difficult because you're facing top pitchers every day. But it's still baseball, and it's still a lot of fun. It feels a little better when you do well because the competition is that much better.
BCB: Speaking of the pitchers, you've obviously faced some tough opponents. Have any pitchers really stood out to you?
PF: They are all good! Everyday...everybody we face is a good pitcher. You just have to be ready.
BCB: You seem to be doing well against both right-handers and left-handers which is certainly a tribute to your ability. Do you do anything differently when facing left-handers? Do you take a different approach at the plate?
PF: It's mostly the same. I try to stay straight up and use the whole field so it's pretty much the same. Against lefties I might try (to use the whole field) just a little bit more. I may lean a little more toward left center so I can handle the curveball a little bit better. But other than that, it's pretty much the same.
BCB: What's interesting is that you're not the stereotypical power hitter. You've been able to hit the ball on the ground just as much as you have hit it in the air. I guess that has helped you keep your average up while still putting up nice power numbers.
PF: I never thought of myself as a power hitter. I just try to hit line drives. So far it's working. I try to hit the ball hard and in the gaps. If it goes over the wall it's a plus.
BCB: One of the things we noticed is that you look like you feel more comfortable in the field. Are you more comfortable, and are you happy with your feet work around the bag now?
PF: All spring training I worked hard at first base taking ground balls. I also did a lot of work around the bag picking balls so that I could help my teammates out on a tough throw...maybe save an error and help us get out of an inning. It seems to be going well so far.
BCB: How is it working with Chris Capuano on pickoff throws?
PF: (laughs loud) I usually just stay on first base. I usually don't move until the ball is almost to the catcher because it's hard for me to tell where the ball is!
BCB: This past off-season you worked with Tony Gwynn. How was that relationship and how has it helped you as a player this year?
PF: He helped me a lot. Any time you can work with a Hall of Famer it's going to help. I worked with "little Tony" as well as his dad so it was a lot of fun. Tony just kept it simple (with my swing). He was all anyone could ask for.
BCB: A lot of the guys you played with at Nashville are still working their way up. Is there anyone you may have played with that you think can come up and make an impact at the Major League level?
PF: Yeah, of course. All my buddies are down there. I'm sure they can help, but that's not up to me. Tony Gwynn, Dave Krynzel, Nelson Cruz...we have a lot of guys down there. All of those guys could be good when they get called up.
BCB: One last question for you...I remember last year that you didn't make it to the Futures Game in Detroit because you had been called up to Milwaukee during the selection period. Any thoughts about potentially making the All-Star Game?
PF: There are so many good first basemen in the National League right now so I'm not even worried about that. I'm just happy I get to play with the guys I'm with...guys that I went through the minor leagues with and grew up with. I'm just having fun.
BCB: Well you're well on your way. Thanks again for joining us today Prince and good luck the rest of the season.
PF: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Thanks again, Prince Fielder, Mike Vassallo, and Joe Hamrahi.