Albert Pujols and the 8 Big-Time Sluggers Experiencing Power Outages in 2012

Brian Belko@@BrianBelkoContributor IIIMay 18, 2012

Albert Pujols and the 8 Big-Time Sluggers Experiencing Power Outages in 2012

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    Several perennial MLB power hitters have been experiencing power outages so far in the 2012 season.

    Power hitters come into each new season with the expectation that they will hit a number of home runs, close to their career average.

    When those expectations are not met, fans become restless, and the players themselves begin to struggle even more at the plate.

    Here are eight big-time sluggers in the MLB that are experiencing power outages in 2012.

Mark Reynolds

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    Throughout his career, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds had been know for two things: striking out and hitting home runs.

    So far this season, Reynolds has excelled at the former and struggled at the latter.

    Through 89 at-bats in 2012, Reynolds has a mind-boggling 36 strikeouts and a measly two home runs. Consider that he hit 37 long balls a year ago, and you can see why that is so shocking.

    Despite Reynolds' struggles, the Orioles have still managed to be quite successful. They are currently leading the AL East.

    If Reynolds can regain some of the power he has displayed in years past, the Orioles will become even more dangerous.

Adrian Gonzalez

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    During his first season in the American League with the Boston Red Sox last year, Adrian Gonzalez went deep 27 times.

    So far in 2012, he has accomplished the feat a grand total of twice. Despite the power outage, Gonzalez is not doing terribly at the plate.

    He is hitting .279 with 14 doubles and 20 RBI. His high amount of doubles may somewhat explain his power outage, as instead of hitting more balls out of the park, he is hitting them into the green monster at Fenway.

    Even considering his amount of doubles, Gonzalez's lack of home runs is certainly a concern for Red Sox fans. If the Red Sox hope to gain ground in their division, they must get more power from Gonzalez.

Alfonso Soriano

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    Over the past couple of seasons, the Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano has experienced a dip in his usually high power numbers.

    So far in 2012, Soriano has only hit two home runs. With a career high of 46 home runs, Soriano is certainly capable of hitting long balls much more often.

    A year ago, Soriano hit 26 home runs, and Cubs fans would be happy with a similar number this season.

    If he continues to struggle as much as the team he plays for currently is, it would not be a surprise for Soriano and the Cubs to part ways at some point this season.

Dan Uggla

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    The Atlanta Braves have one of the best power-hitting second basemen in the MLB in Dan Uggla. Over his past six seasons, Uggla has averaged over 31 home runs per year.

    This season, Uggla has not gone deep as often as usual. So far in 2012, Uggla has only hit five home runs. In fact, only 13 of Uggla's 41 hits this season have gone for extra bases.

    Even though the Braves are currently leading the NL East, they would be even happier if Uggla can return to his power-hitting form soon.

Carlos Pena

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    Ever since exploding for 46 home runs back in 2007, the Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Pena has been known as a power-hitting threat.

    He is never going to hit for much of an average, but Pena can do a lot of damage with the long ball.

    However, Pena has only gone deep five times so far in 2012. After spending last season with the Chicago Cubs, Pena returned to the Rays, who were expecting him to continue to hit a lot of home runs.

    While there is no reason to think that Pena will not eventually start hitting for more power, the Rays would prefer that to happen sooner rather than later.

Mark Teixeira

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    Throughout his career, the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira has always been a power hitter. He has never hit less than 26 home runs in any of his major league seasons.

    However, his career high of 43 home runs seems to be a long way off so far this season. Teixeira has only hit five home runs so far this season to go along with a paltry .234 average.

    While the Yankees lineup has plenty of other bats to carry the team, the return of Teixeira to his usual power-hitting ways will certainly be welcomed.

Robinson Cano

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    The New York Yankees' Robinson Cano was the champion of the 2011 Home Run Derby and hit 28 long balls during the regular season.

    Needless to say, his current power production in 2012 has been disappointing. Cano has only managed to hit three home runs so far this season.

    While he is still hitting for a good average, his sudden power outage has been pretty surprising.

    The Yankees need all the help they can get in the suddenly competitive AL East Division, and having two struggling power hitters is not helping their cause.

Albert Pujols

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    When the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed slugger Albert Pujols to a contract worth $240 million, they were probably not expecting Pujols to struggle the way he has so far in 2012.

    Since 2001, Pujols has been the premier power hitter in all of Major League Baseball. With a career average of 37.3 home runs per season and a career .326 batting average, the Angels were expecting similar production after committing so much money to one player.

    However, Pujols has struggled terribly so far in 2012. Hitting an embarrassing .213 with only two home runs and eight doubles, Pujols has not been anywhere close to his usual self.

    Whether it was his shift to the American League or having too much pressure on him, Pujols needs to figure it out soon.

    The Angels committed 10 years to Pujols, and if he doesn't turn it around soon, his contract could go down in history as one of the biggest busts ever.