Mac Engel

Rangers’ Prince aging more like his famous father than David Ortiz

Which do you prefer — a Yu Darvish fastball to the face, or an Adrian Beltre full swing of the bat to the stomach?

For the purposes of updating the latest results on the Prince Fielder-for-Ian Kinsler trade, both of the above-mentioned forms of punishment are appropriate and effectively effective.

In 368 games with the Detroit Tigers, Kins is batting .290 with 39 home runs, 197 RBIs with 86 doubles and 32 stolen bases.

In return for Kins the Rangers have received 253 games from Prince, as well as a .272 batting average with 29 home runs, 142 RBIs, 47 doubles and zero stolen bases.

Of course, if Kinsler were still here, Rougned Odor would never have punched Jose Bautista’s pretty face; KO’dor would still be in the minors.

We have not seen a fat cash star struggle like Prince has since the days of Chan Ho Park’s batting-practice pitching performances early this century.

On Monday night to start a three-game set against the Astros, Prince was “replugged” back into the starting line as the first baseman. He batted sixth and went 2 for 4 with an RBI to raise his average to .193.

The Rangers and manager Jeff Banister publicly believe that by the end of the season Prince’s 2016 numbers will be consistent with his career. For veterans, that’s normally a decent bet —even in the case of our .190 batting, $24 mil a year All-Star first baseman.

This season, while worrisome, is not the concern. The greater fear must be that Prince Fielder’s career trajectory is about to follow in the path of his famous father, Cecil.

If Prince is Cecil at the plate, Rangers co-owner Ray Davis needs a spot at the bar.

Prince is under contract with the Rangers at $18 million per season through 2020, or the time Donald Trump will be wrapping up his first term as president of the United States.

It is no secret that for many years Prince’s relationship with Cecil was strained, and the last thing he wants is for his baseball career to follow that of his dad’s.

Prince is 32 — the same age when it fell off for his daddy.

In 1996, when Cecil was 32, he was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the New York Yankees, and after that season he was never the same.

His batting average, which normally hovered around .260, began to drop, and the injuries piled up. He played in two more big league seasons.He was out of baseball forever when he was 34.

Like Prince, Cecil Fielder was a giant of a man; he was 6-foot-3 and at least 230 pounds although that weight estimation seems about 35 pounds too light. At least.

Prince stands 5-foot-11 and 275 pounds but is a much better hitter than his dad was, even in his prime. And Prince can hit for average, whereas Cecil was nearly all power.

Of course, these days Prince is not hitting much of anything.

For the Rangers, pray Prince is closer to David Ortiz than Cecil.

The Red Sox first baseman/DH too is a great jolly of a man who, when he was 33, saw his batting average slip to a ghastly .238 for the 2009 season. As the witches of Salem can attest, the good people of New England are known to overreaction and Ortiz was thought to be trending toward being just another washed-up fat guy.

But his numbers since that season have resurfaced to respectable. Today, at 40, he is in the final year of his brilliant career — he is batting .340 with an American League-best 54 RBIs.

Given Prince’s salary and his potential, there is no way the Rangers can leave him on the bench for an extended period, even if the production is embarrassing.

He’s still Prince Fielder. And his manager believes that a veteran numbers will, by the end of the season, be in line with past production.

“History will tell that their numbers will reflect and be comparable,” Banister said Monday. “If you take the length of time this year [Prince has struggled], the last thing I want is Prince to try to recapture his numbers in one at bat.”

Pretty sure that’s not happening, but Banister’s concern is valid; Prince may start squeezing and forcing all of it to catch up.

Given his age, and health, by the end of the season Prince Fielder should come around and have Prince Fielder-type numbers.

After that, we can only hope that on the field he’s closer to Ortiz than his dad.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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