The one thing everybody knows about Albert Pujols is that he is the best hitter in the game. His 162-game average looks like this: .331/42HR/118RBI/115R/1.050 OPS.
This absurd line is how you become a perennial MVP candidate and start the conversation of best hitter to ever play the game of baseball.
Pujols enters the 2011 season at age 31 and will not turn 32 until this coming January. With advancements in technology and medicine, there is no reason to think that he won’t be able to play until he is 40 years old.
With the average of 42 home runs per season, Pujols would finish with 828 home runs. That number is out of reach because as he ages, the 42 HR per year average will dip. A reasonable average would be 36, which would amount to a career total of 768, six more than current record holder Barry Bonds.
3. Injury record
Since making the show in 2001, Pujols has averaged 156 games per season. Aside from two brief DL stints, one in 2006 and another in 2007, Pujols has a clean injury record and plays nearly every game. Barring any serious injury, Pujols will be able to continue to play enough games to make the run towards 762.
In addition to his pure hitting ability, Pujols has also turned into a Gold Glove first baseman. With Gold Glove awards in 2006 and 2009, Pujols has shown the Cardinals and the entire league why he is worth a $300 million contract.
4. Work ethic
Pujols is known for working extremely hard every offseason, and this year he took his routine to a new level. He met with Kobe Bryant, the king of prolonging success with a training regimen. Pujols already arrived five hours before games and took extra batting practice. As Tony La Russa said, “It would’ve been nice to have been a fly on the wall.”
5. Supporting cast(s)
Currently Matt Holliday, one of the premier hitters in the game, protects Pujols by hitting in the No. 4 spot. If he stays in St. Louis, which I think he will, Holliday will continue to protect him for the duration of his contract. Even if Pujols were traded, he would go to a team that can handle his contract and thus be able to protect him with premier talent.