Friday - Apr 19, 2019

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Motown Mashers

The last Detroit Tiger to hit more than 50 home runs in
a season was Cecil Fielder in 1990. This record may be in jeopardy by Fielder’s
own flesh and blood after son Prince Fielder’s blockbuster nine-year, $214
million deal. After rumors that the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers were
the frontrunners for Fielder’s services, the Detroit Tigers were the surprise
choice. With veteran Victor Martinez potentially lost for the entire season
after a torn ACL during the offseason, Detroit decided to take a chance on
Fielder to replace the fallen slugger. Detroit’s owner may have quietly had his
eye on Fielder for a while as he used to watch his new first basemen take
batting practice as a youngster with his father Cecil more than 20 years ago. At
age 83, owner Mike Ilitch has shown his team and fans that winning a World
Series is the top priority, and Fielder will be a key component to
accomplishing this goal.

With Cy Young Winner and MVP Justin Verlander leading
the rotation, and the dynamic duo of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera smashing
opposing pitching, Detroit will be the favorite to retain the AL Central title.
However, the bigger question may be whether Fielder can help the Tigers get
over the playoff hump by knocking off AL powerhouses Texas Rangers and New York
Yankees, both of which have ended Detroit’s postseason hopes over the last two
seasons.

What should fantasy owners expect from this monster acquisition? First, Cabrera
is slated to take over third base duties, which will be added to his position
eligibility. With third base moderately shallow, Cabrera’s position jumped
several slots to the very top of fantasy rankings charts alongside Albert
Pujols. Jose Bautista has now fallen to the No. 2 third basemen off the board.
Second, Fielder’s stat line should be very similar to Milwaukee where Ryan
Braun hit in front of him. He has displayed power to all fields and should pull
several line drive home runs over the shallow 330-foot right field fence with
ease. Fielder has been very durable throughout his career and is rumored to
also see time at designated hitter to keep him fresh. In regards to draft
position, Cabrera is a model of consistency and should be one of the first two
picks off the board, while Fielder can be taken in the early-to-middle second
round due to a generous supply of first basemen. I will conclude by predicting Cabrera
and Fielder’s fantasy values this season – in the words of Kellogg’s Frosted
Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger, “They’re Greaaaattt!”

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