Why Albert Pujols Won't Bust out Until the Second Half
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Throughout Pujols' career, he has shown no reason for this below-mediocre start to continue for the entirety of 2012. In fact, one should only expect a serious power surge to ensue by the second half of the season, if not much earlier.
In 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert has never hit below 30 home runs or failed to drive in less than 99 runs. His worst season to date, although below his normal productivity, still outshines most hitters in Major League baseball.
In 2007, the nine-time All-Star had a down season—hitting only 32 homers, scoring 99 runs and driving in 103. As you can see, when speaking about Pujols, a down season consists of marks most Major League players will fail to reach throughout their entire careers.
From 2009-2011, the most recent three-year period, it is near impossible to try to manipulate statistics to look even ordinary—never mind below average. Whether it is versus right-handed or left-handed pitching, batting at home or away, day or night or on grass or turf, the numbers are all consistently among the best in baseball.
Los Angeles' $240 million man is about as secure of an investment as there is in this expensive world of modern sports. After all, since breaking out in the Major Leagues in 2011, Pujols has become baseball's king.
Any player who wishes to be considered the best must first fight through comparisons to Albert.
Pujols' incredible track record and immense talent should leave no Angels fan worried. There are many things to consider as reasons for the slow start.
When will the struggles end for Albert Pujols?
First, one must remember that Albert has never played in a Major League uniform other than St. Louis. His talent translates in any ballpark, against any team and in any era—but let's give him a little bit of a transitional period here, folks. The Angels are only 14 games into a 1,620 game investment.
In the previous 1,721 games, Albert launched 445 home runs with a career average of .328. Still worried?
If so, then maybe you should know that Busch Stadium is actually considered one of the hardest parks to homer in—harder than in Los Angeles, actually. In the past three years, Albert has crushed 55 home runs in the stadium he called home as a Cardinal.
Another reason to consider for such a slow start may be the entire Los Angeles team. The Angels' talented squad have all struggled, and are off to a 6-10 start. Of course, it is unthinkable to imagine the team in such a position halfway through the season. There is far too much talent, and once the team begins to produce, big Albert will be leading the way at the plate.
With cleanup slugger Tori Hunter also struggling, Pujols has had little protection on the order. Once the team starts to hit, pitchers will have no choice but to throw across the plate rather than working around the scary Albert.
Moving from the National League to the American League is often talked about in terms of pitching, but it also has serious effects on hitters. Through 11 years, Pujols has faced many of the same pitchers time and again. Moving to the AL, however, creates many situations in which he must rely on teammates as a scouting report.
As reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press, Hunter weighed in on the move by saying: "He doesn't know any of the pitchers. I'm his scouting report. But when he figures it out, there's going to be trouble."
Normally, I take quotes from teammates with a grain of salt. But in this particular situation, I think Torii hit the nail right on the head.
Whether you are a die-hard Angels fan or an avid fantasy baseball manager who drafted Pujols, you should have no worries as to whether or not the power numbers will come. After roughly half of the season is complete, Albert will become familiar with the American League and begin terrorizing pitchers—just as he has done for the past 11 years now.
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