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Angel Without Wings? Pujols in Slump
- Updated: May 11, 2012
Just how bad has Albert Pujols’ start in LA been so far? Well…He’s keeping up with Brendan Ryan, but lagging behind our good friend Colby Rasmus.
Jose Alberto Pujols – 2012 Stats – 31 Games – 126 AB – 10 Runs Scored – 1 (Yes – Still only ONE) Home Run – 11 RBI – .198 BA
This stat line does not sound like a guy who was the most sought after free agent last offseason. It doesn’t sound like the guy that St. Louis Cardinal fans knew for 11 seasons. This isn’t the guy that will be making 12 million dollars this year and who’s salary will skyrocket over the next 10 years. This must be an imposter…a fake…this can’t be THE Albert Pujols, can it? This is not “The Machine” or “El Hombre” is it?
The Los Angeles Angels have a first baseman on their hands who has hit as many home runs this year as former Cardinal Brendan Ryan, as many as current Cardinals Shane Robinson, Daniel Descalso, and Matt Carpenter, and as many home runs as Rockies PITCHER Drew Pomeranz, who has only 5 at-bats this season. Jordany Valdespin, second baseman for the New York Mets, has matched Pujols’ home run total so far. Who is Jordany Valdespin? Great question…Valdespin has 9 MLB games under his belt for his career. Dustin Ackley of the Seattle Mariners hit a home run on opening day in Japan, which seems like it was ages ago, and has yet to hit another long ball since then. Sure enough, Ackley is tied with Pujols. Give Pujols credit, though, he does have 11 RBIs in his 31 games. That’s decent, isn’t it? It’s just as many as Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig has in 7 games since coming off of the DL. Of all of the players in the majors who have the minimum number of ABs to be listed in the batting average stat on MLB.com, only 20 are below Pujols and his .198 mark. Don’t worry Los Angeles, your first baseman DOES have a higher batting average than Brendan Ryan (.157). You’ve gotta hang your hat on something, right? Pujols is even further down the list in OBP, having just 5 players on MLB.com below him. At least he’s not where Clint Barmes, Pittsburgh’s SS, is, right? Barmes has an OBP of .188 – that’s 47 points lower than Albert’s .235.
I do have sympathy for you, Los Angeles. Albert isn’t keeping pace with Toronto CF and former Cardinal Colby Rasmus, who has 3 HR, 13 RBI, and a .220 batting average. Rasmus must be getting some GREAT pointers from his Dad this season to be keeping up with “The Machine”.
The St. Louis Cardinals were left with a big void to fill when Albert inked his deal with the Angels and turned to Carlos Beltran for help. No one was expecting Beltran to do what Pujols did here, but he is absolutely crushing the ball so far. Beltran has 10 home runs, 27 RBIs, and a .284 batting average. I’d say he has done a pretty good job in helping Cardinal nation get over the loss of Albert so far. Carlos Beltran has been embraced by the best fans in baseball while Pujols has been heard a chorus of boo’s from his new fans in LA.
I wonder if Pujols misses St. Louis. I wonder if he’s happy and content with his decision. I’ve got to believe there’s some doubts in the midst of this slow start. While I’ve pointed out some hard to believe stats and poked a bit of fun at Mr. Pujols, I still am grateful for the 11 years he gave St. Louis. As a Cardinal fan, his efforts here will never be forgotten, but for now, I will enjoy the success that the Redbirds are having without Pujols while watching him struggle like I’ve never seen before in LA. I’ve seen Albert do some things that I never thought I’d see, including throwing his glove at a teammate and then writing it off as “fooling around” after a win (one of only 14 for his team so far). Albert will snap out of this slump. “The Machine” will return. When he does, the Angels will get what they paid for, but for now, he’s neck and neck with super slugger Brendan Ryan. Enjoy the next 10 years, Los Angeles!
Photo courtesy of flickr user Marianne O’Leary