It appears there will be no salvaging the mightily disappointing season of five-time All-Star Prince Fielder. Just when he started swinging the bat better and seemed primed for a breakout, it’s been revealed that he will have season-ending surgery on a herniated disk next Tuesday. If you drafted the Prince with your first or second-round pick this year, it’s unlikely you’re dominating your league, but nevertheless the loss of his bat leaves a gaping hole on many fantasy rosters. Since he must now be replaced, let’s take a look at some guys you can possibly grab off the wire to fill his big shoes.
Ownership percentages bases off ESPN standard leagues
Mitch Moreland: Texas Rangers (1.4 percent): Though he hasn’t received nearly as much playing time with the acquisition of Fielder, this fellow has a track record of being a more than competent hitter. He hit 23 HRs and knocked in 60 last year as the starter in Texas in just 462 at bats, so that gives you a good idea of what he can bring to the table. I think with the inheritance of the starting gig once again, Moreland will get into a nice groove and begin to produce as good as, if not better than, Prince has this season. He certainly makes for a high reward pickup, so I would grab him regardless of the need to replace Fielder.
James Loney: Tampa Bay Rays (61.3 percent): You won’t exactly be getting the pop that a Fielder or Moreland bring to the table, but Loney can certainly help your team in other ways. His .310 batting average places him at T-10th in the American League, and the fact that he has 26 RBIs despite just one HR shows he gets the job done with men on base. The Rays don’t have the strongest offense out there, but it’s good enough for Loney to continue his productive ways.
Justin Smoak: Seattle Mariners (40.5 percent): This guy’s .226 average is far from an asset for fantasy teams, but Prince wasn’t exactly looking like the second coming of Ted Williams as his sat at just .247. What Smoak was doing better than Fielder is everything else though. He has three more HRs, 11 more RBIs and one more run scored than him in just four extra games played. Smoak doesn’t offer the same kind of high ceiling that many other first basemen do, but for someone who was already having a better season than Texas’ $24 million a year man, you could do much worse (like still having Fielder).