The Albert Pujols Schadenfreude Post
To understand the magnitude of Albert Pujols's six-week slump to start the 2012 season (and I'm not going to lie, calling it a "slump" feels like a VERY lazy understatement), you have to remember the starting point from whence he came when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels this off-season.
Things were different in St. Louis.
That starting point came a couple short months after the end point of his career as a St. Louis Cardinal, which culminated with a second world championship last October. As if Astro fans needed a reminder of the specifics of the Albert Pujols Experience in St. Louis, consider the following:
-- In his 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never finished outside of the top 10 for the National League MVP award and only finished outside the top 5 once (9th, 2007). His line on MVP finishes looks like this: 4, 2, 2, 3, 1, 2, 9, 1, 1, 2, 5. Wow.
-- Through the age of 31, according to baseball-reference.com, Pujols was statistically most similar to these ten hitters:
* Jimmie Foxx
* Frank Robinson
* Hank Aaron
* Lou Gehrig
* Mickey Mantle
* Mel Ott
* Willie Mays
If you're keeping track, that's seven Hall of Famers (denoted by *), one future Hall of Famer (Griffey), one who would have been a Hall of Fame lock save for performance enhancers (Manny) and another borderline case (Gonzalez). Sporty company.
Pujols in 2012
-- Despite his utterly crappy start to the 2012 season, Pujols is still 6th in the history of baseball in OPS (On base plus slugging percentage), trailing only Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds and Jimmie Foxx.
-- The literal bottom line on Pujols's Cardinal career looks like this:
.328 Batting avg.
.420 On base pct.
.617 Slugging pct.
40 HR, 121 RBI average per season
In the offseason, the Angels were able to outbid the hometown Cardinals and stave off the upstart Miami Marlins to sign Pujols to a ten-year, $240 million deal. When you consider how backloaded the contract is ($140 million over the final five seasons) and the fact that the contract takes Pujols to age 41 (a good six years AT LEAST after a hitter with his profile exits his prime), this would be considered a bad deal even if Pujols gave you a typical Pujols-with-Cards season for the first six or seven seasons of the contract.
And as we all know by now, thus far Pujols has not been Pujols, unless you consider how similar his numbers are to former Astros backup catcher Luis Pujols's, and then I guess that would mean he was at least being a Pujols.
Through 38 games, Pujols the Angel has put up the following anemic numbers (and this is after hitting a three-run bomb on Wednesday night):