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Prince Fielder isn't right for the Dodgers

by Wes Williams

Los Angeles is a city of stars.  Whether it is in Hollywood or sports, stars sell tickets at the box office and in stadiums. 

Prince Fielder is a star and would certainly put butts in seats in Dodger Stadium, but he is not right for the Dodgers.  

Fielder is an unbelievable power hitter averaging 40 home runs per season over the last five years. Already good friends with Matt Kemp, the two of them would make a one-two punch that would scare any National League pitcher. 

However, Dodger teams built around power hitters have not had the post season success playing in Dodger Stadium for one simple reason, it is a pitchers' park.  

Look at the World Series championship teams for the Dodgers from 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988.  All of these teams were built around dominant pitching, speed on the base paths, and solid, but not necessarily power, hitters. 

In 1963, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were dominant pitchers winning 25 and 19 games respectively.  Four Dodger starters stole at least 15 bases with Maury Wills leading the team with 40 steals.  Tommy Davis led the team in hitting with a .326 average.  Only one hitter had more than 20 home runs that season, Frank Howard.  

In 1965, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were un-hittable winning 26 and 23 games respectively.  Maury Wills stole 94 bases and three other starters stole at least 13 bases.  No starter batted .300 or hit more than 12 home runs.

In 1981, the statistics are skewed because the season was shortened with the strike.  A little more than half the season was played, 60% to be accurate, so all totals multiplied by 1.7 to be semi-accurate. 

Three pitchers, had double digit wins and all three had ERAs under 2.48. If a full season was played, Fernando Valenzuela would have won roughly 22 games.  Three starters would have had at least 17 steals if a full season was played with Davey Lopes leading the team with 34 steals if he kept up that pace. No hitter would have had more than 22 home runs if they kept up the pace. 

Without a strike to skew numbers, the statistics from the 1988 Dodgers are much easier to analyze.  The team was led by Orel Hershiser who had 23 wins, won the Cy Young, and broke Don Drysdale's unbreakable record of consecutive scoreless innings streak.  Four Dodger starters had double digit stolen bases with Steve Sax leading the team with 42 and MVP Kirk Gibson stealing 31. Gibson led the team with a paltry 25 home runs.  

All four of these teams were led by dominant pitching, speed on the base paths, and solid hitting. These teams won championships with this formula because Dodger Stadium is a pitchers' park not suited for power hitters.   

Dodger teams that were led by power hitters were not nearly as successful as the teams that followed the formula above.  Look at the teams led by Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza, Gary Sheffield, and Shawn Green, they led their teams to nice seasons but not championship seasons.  

Rather than signing Fielder, the Dodgers should look into finding a second baseman that can steal bases, a left handed reliever to set up Guerra, and a solid number two starter than can win 15 games and eat up innings. 

I honestly do not think this Dodger team is that far away from being a championship caliber team, but as good as he is, Fielder is not the player that will put them over the top. 

 

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