After Prince's four-walk game, which KL gave some good info on, I got to thinking about the batting order.
Clearly, Prince is having a career year, and if not for Albert Pujols, he'd be the lead candidate for MVP, so maybe we shouldn't be messing with what works, but with Prince's increased on-base percentage, I wondered if it wouldn't make sense to switch Braun and Fielder in the batting order.
With all the other lineup and position shakeups, it might make sense to try this in a limited sense here at the end of the season.
Prince is protecting Braun, forcing teams to pitch to Braun. But with the constant lineup flux, there hasn't been a solid #5 guy and therefore there's been no one in the middle of the lineup that scares teams into pitching to Prince. They can be careful or intentionally walk him.
If the two are switched, then Braun gets the protection and because of Prince's numbers, teams would have to be careful about pitching to him, as well.
Batting in the four hole would also open up Braun's running game. The theory that there's no point risking an out on the bases with Prince up to bat has really stymied Braun's ability to steal bases. He's got speed and is a legitimate SB threat, but that's a facet of his game the team never gets to take advantage of.
It would make a difference later in games when the Brewers force a team to go to their bullpen. By protecting Fielder with Braun, there's a possibility of forcing teams to head to their bullpen earlier than they might have otherwise. It also forces the team to use two guys immediately, as they won't likely leave the LOOGY in for Braun. It would be forcing the hand of teams who may try to push a pitcher or fudge things a little when their bullpen is tired.
A lot of the possible arguments for switching the two are intangible - there's no stat to quantify one protecting the other, so it's an argument based on possibilities and feeling - but it seems like an idea that at least merits some discussion.