We all know that Albert Pujols is struggling in his new uniform in the America League, but how bad really is it?
With the sabermetric statistics now in the forefront of a lot of baseball clubhouses, those stats are available to really break down what exactly is going on right now.
To put his troubles into perspective, I used a technical Runs Created statistic that was created by Bill James, who many people consider the father of sabermetrics. This equation was created to identify specifically how valuable each player is to his team and how many runs he creates over a period of time. Which, of course, is how to win baseball games.
RC= (H + BB - CS + HBP - GIDP) x (TB + (.26 x (BB - IBB + HBP)) + (.52 x (SH + SF+ SB))
AB + BB + HBP + SH + SF
Calculating Pujols' runs created so far this season, it came out to about 6.45 runs or 0.403 per game.
To put that into perspective, last season he produced 106.81 runs or .726 per game. While that may not look like much, at the current pace, he is only on pace to produce about 60 runs this season, which would be much less than last season and a career low. This, of course, is if he were to again play 147 games like last season.
To put this into perspective in another way, the Dodgers’ All-Star who is making big noise right now, Matt Kemp, is creating 1.76 runs per game. On this pace, if he plays 147 games like Pujols did last season, he will create 258 runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So, while that hot streak by Kemp is not likely to continue at the same pace, it is easy to see the difference between the league’s top hitter and a struggling Albert Pujols.
This trend by Pujols, however, will most likely not continue. In a new division in the opposite league that he spent his first 11 major league seasons, there was obviously going to be a learning curve.
Once he gets back to the natural hitting he is capable of, this should not be a problem. This is the same player who hit .347 against American League pitching for the Cardinals and was worthy of his huge contract the Angels signed him to this offseason.
The interesting part about it is seeing him fail to hit home runs, something he has done so well throughout his career. In his first 12 seasons, he has averaged 42 long balls a year in an average of 600 at-bats per year. Thus far in 16 games, he doesn’t have any, the slowest start in his career.
Overall, while everyone knew he was struggling to get going, this struggle is not even comparable to the rest of his career. There is still reason to believe he will get back to the same player, but this start is very much a contributing factor to the Angels' consequent slow start.