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Blog Entry

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

Posted on: May 18, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 11:25 am
 
By Matt Snyder

Tuesday night, Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols went through his 22nd consecutive game without a home run. For most players, this wouldn't be a huge deal, but for Pujols it's now equaled the longest streak of his career (StLtoday.com). In fact, he's having the worst season of his career and it's not even close.

It's a staggering reality, considering Pujols is on pace to hit 27 home runs with 92 RBI, 104 runs and a .337 on-base percentage. His OPS-plus is still 111. That's a career year for many players -- especially with offensive numbers down across the board in the bigs these past two seasons.

It's just that he's freaking Albert Pujols. Only twice has his OPS been below 1.000 and his lowest mark ever was .955. This year it's .758. His career-low in home runs is 32 and he's never driven in less than 103 runs. His lowest batting average ever was .312. This season it's .269. He does lead the majors in one category, though, as he's grounded into an MLB-high 13 double plays.

At 43 games in, can we really still cry small sample? Or is there really something wrong with Pujols? With free agency looming and a potential standoff with the only team he's ever known, is that an issue?

On the last question, I'm still saying no. He's been around long enough to prove he's one of the most mentally tough players in the game and the fact that he's never had a streak of more than 22 games without a home run is a testament to his ability to block out mental factors.

I do think 43 games is still a relatively small sample, but it's enough to look at the numbers and see what's going on. It's not exactly a two-week slump. What's going on is pretty obvious: Pujols is pounding the ball into the ground and when he does hit it in the air, it's not with as much authority as in the past. He's only hit 40.8 percent of his batted balls on the ground in his career, but this season it's up to 50.7 percent. That's a huge jump for a 10-year veteran. His percentage of balls in the air is obviously down, but his HR/FB percentage is only 13.5. He's usually around 20 percent. As a result, his batting average on balls in play is down about 50 points from where it usually is. His walk rate is down, but that actually makes sense with Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman killing the ball behind him.

To put it all in layman's terms: Pujols has not had good fortune on balls he's putting in play and is not hitting for as much power as he's accustomed. That stuff should even out over the course of 162 games, as long as he's healthy and mentally right. Some really small tweaks in his swing might be needed in the way of the ground-ball problem, but I trust that will happen in due time.

The lack of pop could be due to him pressing about the contract or simply pressing now because he got off to a slow start and wants to break out of it. Either way, games like Tuesday night -- when he went 3-5 with a double -- are what will get him on track. Another game or two like this, especially if there's a home run involved, and I'd put the rest of baseball on notice. He'd be ready to bust out in a big way.

If I was forced to make a prediction, it's that a hot streak is coming very soon and he'll finish with a run-of-the-mill year ... for him. That means he's going to hit about .300 with a 1.000ish OPS, a mid-30s home run total and over 100 runs and RBI.

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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 12:05 pm
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:59 am
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

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Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:32 pm
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

I'll honestly answer if you convince me it has any sort of relevance whatsoever to this particular article.

- Matt



Since: Aug 6, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:29 am
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

Matt Snyder: How old are you?



Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

his ops is not 1.110. its like. its .752. An awful # for him or any 1st baseman



Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:39 am
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

There's ONE way Albert could help himslf PAST ANY of this "pressing" and mental durress, and THAT would be to end his self imposed "in season" moratorium on negotiations.   He SAYS he want to be a Cardinal for life...is that true?   He could simply tell his agent to make an offer to the club for "x" amount of years - whatever it is he is NEVER going to suffer for a lack on money - and sign a "reasonable" offer.   This would all then go away, and I bet his hitting would be back up to HIS standards within a week!   Is this suffering really worth it when the pressure is leading to his "worth" in terms of money (to himself) AND production (to his team) depreciating by the day?   People on the live blogs during games  NOW refer to Albert Pujols as "RK"...RALLY KILLER!   End the madness NOW, Albert!



Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: May 18, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

First of all, 1 star to debo for the use of the letter "u" as a word.

Kitch, hulking frame? Hmmm... who else is big? Ryan Howard? Prince Fielder? Jim Thome? Adam Dunn? Are those steroid users as well or does that only apply to latin players? Nevermind that Albert Pujols has been in the U.S. since he was 16 and was a stud in high school and college as well. Albert Pujols consistently welcomes tests and has yet to test positive unlike Manny and others so it seems to me that this is all speculation and more of the early 2000s steroid witch hunt. I will also add Ken Griffey as a guy not connected to roids.



Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

Sorry if this offends anyone, but I truly believe Pujols was/is a roider. Name one player in the past 15 years who has had similar average/power statistics who also has NOT been connected to steroids. He's got the hulking frame. He's from the Dominican Republic, a country where steroid use is rampant among amateur players. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say Pujols should be crucified for using the juice, but I will sit here and say he juiced. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will vouch for Albert. Sosa. Palmeiro. McGwire. A-Rod. Manny. David Ortiz. That's just off the top of my head. All had amazing power/average numbers. All users. But Pujols is different, right?



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

Funny, when THAT list of 106 names was found 3 years ago,...A-Rod, Pettitte, David Ortiz & Manny Ramirez all had their names released. There were 102 names PROTECTED by MLB. And why was thta? You tell me? Why was that? THIS is why!  there were even roumors on websites that someone had released all 106 names.. and Ar-Rod, Pettitte, Ortiz and Manyy were ONJ THAT LIST..... but so were (according to that list- fabricated/maybe BUT maybe NOT bc, mlb wont show the 103 names).. Clemens and Pujols!!!!.. Some say the list is being held form the public to keep Clemens from losing his case! Bc once he was found to be 102 of 106 name,s he is then a proven liar.
Pujols is no hero in baseball terms. 102 people cant be trusted. U can praise him for his community work, and the happiness he brings u with hits,if u are Cards fan, or a baseball fan.. but dont praise any of these guys as "people", until mlb comes clean with everyone. BC ur favorite player might be on that list. .. and might all of a sudden not be able to hit 50 hrs again. See: A-Rod.



Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Pujols homerless drought raises questions

Are we serious with this steroids talk? This is what is so sad about baseball these days. If there is a great player that hits homeruns, he is on steroids. Nevermind that these baseball players are tested rigorously. As for Pujols himself, he has been the same player since he entered the majors. His hat size didn't grow, he didn't suddenly hit his most homeruns in a season at the age of 37 or 38, he didn't become a power hitter after being somewhat of a speed guy, and he didn't grow an inch taller in his mid 20s. Those forementionted things all fit a known steroid user.

To be honest I am shocked that people saying he is using roids, if anybody would make accusations, I would assume it would be against Jose Bautista. Yeah you know the guy who never hit more than 30 then all the sudden had over 50 last year and is among the leaders again this year. I'm not going to accuse anybody of taking roids, I'm just surprised some are choosing the consistently great player over the 1 and fourth year power output.

Let's put all this nonesense to bed unless there is some concrete proof such as a positive test.



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