Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels' Lineup Still Needs Improvement

Matthew MarxContributor IDecember 9, 2011

This won't happen for the next ten years.
This won't happen for the next ten years.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Immediately, I couldn't process it. As a Mariners fan, I couldn't imagine what it would be like to watch Albert Pujols in a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim uniform 100 percent more of the time than before. It was like the biggest bully in the neighborhood moved right into my backyard, the one everyone fears. 

Deservedly so—Pujols leads active players with a .328 average and .617 slugging percentage. It's no surprise that the first reaction is: Oh, no. Not him. 

But the reactionary process is an emotional process, and emotions can be misleading. At first glance, Pujols does change the Angels lineup. However, upon further examination, as it stands right now, there isn't another bat that could truly protect Pujols in the lineup. 

Torii Hunter posted a .262/.336/.429 slash line in 2011, hardly a line that induces fear into a pitching staff. The Kendry Morales situation is unknown. Vernon Wells hit .218/.248/.412. Their lineup is still a work in progress, made evident by their team wRC+ of 96, good for 14th in the majors. 

Is the Mariners lineup currently better than the Angels'? No, but there is potential growing on the farm. 

Behind the likes of Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp and Justin Smoak, prospects like Nick Franklin, Marcus Littlewood and Francisco Martinez are waiting for the call. Martinez is scouted as a true five-tool player. There are things to be excited about. 

Unlike the Mariners farm system, however, the Angels system is far behind. Bleacher Report contributor Sean Edwards wrote that by the time Pujols and the Angels are on the decline, the Mariners farm system will be on the incline, and that is a huge advantage that Seattle has. 

Although it seems like the Angels have at least evened the playing field with the Texas Rangers, there are things to hope for in the future as a Mariners fan.