In this week’s edition of the ESPN Power Rankings, I note Prince Fielder’s incredible hot streak.
After a 2-for-3 game including the game-winning homer against St. Louis on Sunday, Prince Fielder’s June line reads like so: 14-for-34, 2 2B, 8 HR, 10 BB, 16 RBI, 9 R, with a .412 batting average, .545 on-base percentage, and a mind-blowing 1.176 slugging percentage. White hot.
Forgive the cliche.
There really aren’t words in the baseball lexicon to describe what Prince Fielder is doing right now. Prince has as many home runs in June as the Indians and Giants, and he has more than the following — get a drink if you need one, we’ll be here a while — the Reds, Nationals, Cubs, Rays, Royals, Twins, Mets, Phillies, Athletics, Padres, Pirates, and Angels.
And, incredibly enough, every single one of these homers has come in a big spot. Seven of them have granted Milwaukee the lead; the other one tied the game. To put that into context, we can use Win Probability Added, which puts these dramatic swings into sweet, delicious numbers. Luckily for me, Jaymes Langrehr already did the heavy lifting, breaking it down over at The Brewers Bar:
A surprising amount of that season [league-leading 4.28 full season] WPA has come over the past 10 games, with the flurry of game-changing home runs — since June 3, he’s sporting a WPA of 1.553. Yes, he’s added the equivalent of over 1.5 wins during that stretch. That’s about 36% of his season total. That’s insane. I honestly can’t remember a stretch like this, and if anyone could dig up something similar, it’d be appreciated.
It’s important to note that unlike with WAR, that number of wins isn’t compared to replacement level talent (such as, say, Yuniesky Betancourt). Instead, it’s compared to the average Major Leaguer, a player which every MLB fan and executive practically lusts over after watching, say, Yuniesky Betancourt. To put up that kind of number over only 40 plate appearances is absolutely staggering. No, it’s not sustainable, and Prince will eventually come back to earth. But he swings one of the few bats capable of piecing together this kind of mind-shattering elite performance, and right now, he just might be the biggest reason the Brewers are in first place.