Milestones, Records Albert Pujols Will Now Never Reach
Albert Pujols is no longer the three-time MVP who took Major League Baseball by storm, and things got even worse on Monday. It turns out that he is done for the year, according to the official Twitter feed of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Injury Update: Albert Pujols will be shut down for the remainder of the season due to the tear in the plantar fascia in his left foot.— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) August 19, 2013
Things have been getting worse and worse for Pujols since he left the St. Louis Cardinals in favor of the Angels, and now things have hit an all-time low.
As I wrote last month, Pujols' struggles have been a direct result of his slowing bat speed. His career lows in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, home runs and more are because he can't turn on pitches like he used to, which is why his days as a slugger are numbered—and it's not a large number.
Pujols was once the most feared hitter in baseball, and it appeared that he could break record after record. Those days are now behind us, so let's take a look at the records Pujols will no longer be able to break.
While there are a ton of records Pujols can no longer break, it's worth noting the ones that he currently holds.
- Most RBI by an NL rookie, 130, 2001
- Most extra-base hits by a rookie, 83, 2001
- Assists, first baseman, season, 185, 2009
- Consecutive seasons of 30 or more home runs, from start of career, 12
- Consecutive seasons of 30 home runs, 100 RBI and .300 batting average from start of career, 10
- Most home runs in first 3 seasons, 114, 2001-03 (tied with Ralph Kiner)
- Most home runs in first 9 seasons, 366, 2001-09
- Most home runs in first 10 seasons, 408, 2001-10
- Most home runs in first 11 seasons, 445, 2001-11
*Records courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
Batting Average by an Angels Player
Record: .319 (Vladimir Guerrero)
What makes Pujols so special is that he is not just a power bat, but that he is an incredible contact hitter as well.
However, since going to the West Coast, Pujols has struggled, with his batting average with the Angels being 46 points below his career average of .321.
When Pujols came to L.A. it looked like he would have no problem surpassing Guerrero, but now it would take a superhuman effort to pass him, which is too much to ask of an aging, declining star.
Most Home Runs by an Angels Players
Record: 299 (Tim Salmon)
When Pujols signed his 10-year contract it seemed like a done deal that he would break Tim Salmon's record of 299 home runs as an Angel. After all, he had never hit less than 32 home runs in a season, and he even reached 49 in 2006.
Pujols was the best power hitter in the game, and giving him 10 years to hit 300 home runs seemed all too easy. Even with his eventual decline, seeing a progression like this one wouldn't be far-fetched at all: 40-40-38-36-35-35-32-32-29-25.
That comes out to 342 home runs, which would blow Salmon's record away.
However, at just 47 home runs through two seasons, Pujols' decline hit him early, and there's no way he'll average 30 home runs over his 10 years in L.A.
Slugging by an Angels Player
Record: .546 (Vladimir Guerrero)
A .546 slugging percentage? No problem for the 2001-10 version of Pujols, who blew that mark away in each of his first 10 seasons in the big leagues.
For the 2013 Pujols? Maybe if you shave off about 100 points.
After slugging .437 this season, Pujols has been unable to consistently deliver extra-base hits, and coupling that with his rapidly decreasing batting average is a recipe for disaster.
Record: 2,297 (Hank Aaron)
Pujols sits a mere 800 RBI behind the great Hank Aaron for career RBI, and a few years ago, it seemed like he would shatter that record.
After the 2010 season, Pujols sat at 1,230 RBI. He was averaging 123 RBI per year and would need just 8.67 more seasons to break the record. Even with his eventual decline it seemed that he would shatter the record, as he was just 30 years old and had another decade of baseball left in him.
Being joined by Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton in L.A. was supposed to help, but Hamilton and Pujols have both struggled, and Pujols has knocked in just 268 RBI in the past three years combined because of it. That's a far cry from the 369 he'd have if he kept up his pace through the first 10 years of his career.
Even if he plays until he's 40, Pujols will not be as effective as he once was, and his pace over the past three years will leave him behind Aaron.
Career Home Runs
Record: 762 (Barry Bonds)
We all thought that we might have a home run king who wouldn't have an asterisk next to his name when Pujols surpassed Barry Bonds, but instead that won't happen anytime soon.
Pujols hit 408 home runs through his first 10 seasons, and it looked like he'd only need 355 over the last 10 to 14 years of his career, which could have easily been within his grasp.
Unfortunately, Pujols' home run numbers haven't just declined, but have dropped off of a cliff. He's barely even considered a power hitter anymore, and if he dips any further, it will be interesting to see if he can even reach 600 home runs.