May 8, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder (84) celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Arlington, Tex – The season didn’t start like Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder wanted it to. Many thought it would be the spark the offense badly needed and he would be an RBI machine, especially with a ballpark with an easy right field fence to hit over.
April struggles: The month of April wasn’t friendly to Prince Fielder. He only batted .206 for the month, but did have an impressive .331 on-base percentage. Fielder’s on-base percentage was helped out because he had 9 intentional walks, which was an American League record for the month of April and also a club record for any given month. The old IBB record was held by Juan Gonzalez who had 7 IBB in July 1996.
May power: Even before the calendar turned to May, Prince Fielder was showing signs of turning things around. He finished the month strong in his last 12 games going 11 for 41 (.268) to help his batting average. Fielder’s early struggles have been because teams have been able to play the shift very well against him.
That was definitely demonstrated during the 6 games against the Oakland Athletics and the 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays. If you watched the series against the Athletics then you saw that Josh Donaldson (third baseman) was at times almost closer to second base than third base. The Tampa Bay Rays were even more extreme and pulled on of their outfielders to use 5 for the infield.
It was joked last week that Fielder should simply hit a bunt down the third base line. Fielder hasn’t changed his approach to the plate. though teams are using the shift against him, Fielder is starting to find a few holes. He has managed to plunk a few balls to right field, maybe enough to open up the shift a bit. Also, he’s finally managed to knock a few balls out of the park. Fielder had a 109 at-bat home run drought that spanned back to September 22, 2013.
Watch Prince Fielder homer
So far Fielder has a batting average of .290 with an on-base percentage of .395 with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 5 RBI. He only had 9 RBI for the month of April. What does this all mean? It appears that Fielder is out of his slump.