Prince Fielder would have easily been the most valuable player on many teams this season, but on this team he's MVBrewer #2.
While starting every single game for the Brewers this season (and becoming the only major leaguer to make 162 appearances in 2011), Fielder led the team with a .415 OBP, 38 home runs, 120 RBI and 107 walks. He's the only player in franchise history to draw 100 walks in a season...and he's now done it three straight years.
Fielder has earned roughly $38 million since the Brewers drafted him with the seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft, and been worth every penny. FanGraphs estimates he's been worth 23.4 WAR in 998 games over 6+ seasons in Milwaukee.
Fielder's power draws most of the attention, but his plate discipline is also one of his most valuable assets. He's drawn 556 walks as a Brewer, the third most in franchise history. That's almost 200 more than Jim Gantner or Cecil Cooper, despite the fact that they each had over 2000 more plate appearances. Paul Molitor was a Brewer for 15 years, but if Fielder comes back to Milwaukee and maintains his present pace he'll pass him on the all time walk list sometime during his eighth full season.
And, of course, the fact that he's in the lineup every day adds to his value. Fielder is only the fifth player in franchise history to appear in 162 games, and he's the only player ever to do it twice.
If Prince Fielder doesn't come back to Milwaukee, then his final three home runs as a Brewer will have all come on the same day: Tuesday, September 27. Fielder drove in five of the Brewers' six runs that day in a 6-4 win over the Pirates. You can see all three shots here:
As you're likely well aware, sometime next week Prince Fielder will become a free agent for the first time. He's believed to be seeking a long deal, something in the neighborhood of 6 years/$150 million or more. Fielder may or may not be worth that much money, but it's unlikely the Brewers can find a way to give it to him without significantly altering their short and long term financial plans.