Saturday, August 11, 2012

The myth of lineup protection

Prince Fielder is examined for signs
of a concussion after being hit
by a thrown ball while running
the bases.
Prince Fielder, as you know, switched teams and leagues this past offseason. He left Milwaukee, where he hit behind Ryan Braun, and signed with Detroit, where he hits behind Miguel Cabrera.

The two situations are similar. Fielder, an outstanding left-handed hitter, hitting behind a suberb right-handed hitter. And broadcasters will frequently talk about how Fielder "protects" the man ahead of him. The idea is that Fielder is so imposing that opposition hurlers have to throw strikes to Braun/Cabrera, and that in Fielder's absence, those strikes aren't coming.

Well ...

Braun this year, with Aramis Ramirez -- another right-handed hitter, a good hitter but no Fielder -- entered Friday's play hitting .309/.385/.585. This is basically what he's done throughout his career (.311/.372/.565), which had been spent entirely as Fielder's teammate until this season.

Milwaukee isn't as good a team without Fielder. But his departure has not made Braun a less productive hitter.

Cabrera this season has a slash line of .322/.383/.583. This, again, is basically a match for his career line (.317/.398/.568).

Braun and Cabrera are great hitters. They are great hitters with or without Fielder.

1 comment:

  1. Of course Braun isn't going to fall off - he has been given a free pass to take whatever 'juicing' he needs and blame someone else when the tests come back positive. I guess the commissioner and former owner needed to throw the Brew Crew a bone after his messed-up financial system has caused Fielder, Sabathia, and Grienke to leave.