Archive for the ‘Albert Pujols’ Category

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols is throwing it all the way back to the late 2000s. The Angels’ first baseman leads the major leagues with six home runs and is hitting .280/.349/.587 in his first 18 games of 2014. His current 167 OPS+ is his best mark since the 2010 season, the last time the 34-year-old reached the All-Star game.

Whenever a hitter of Pujols’s former stature manages an elite stretch like this one, particularly early in a season, it’s worth taking note. It’s especially worth noting when the player in question is healthy for the first time in years. Pujols missed roughly the final third of the 2013 season in order to finally undergo surgery on his right knee as well as rest the plantar fasciitis that has chronically bothered his left heel.

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus documented Pujols’s issues last season in a column aptly titled “The Week In Albert Pujols Playing Through Pain.” Pujols was never a burner, but he ran in an extremely pained manner in 2013. The issues were particularly apparent on this play, a groundout on April 13. Watch the instability in his front leg in particular:

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World Series - San Francisco Giants v Detroit Tigers - Game 4

Supposedly ladies love the long ball. But strikeouts are fascist. So it’s hard to figure out who’s happy and who’s not when it comes to the “strikeout or home run” state of the game today. Look at how crazy it’s gotten, thanks to Doug Niblock’s excellent work at High Heat Stats:

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Funny thing about memories, you don’t get to choose what sticks. Doesn’t matter how many good years you have, years in which you are probably the best reliever in the game, years in which you rack up saves, strikeouts and no-hitter innings. Years in which you post nearly 4 Wins Above Replacement as a reliever, striking out nearly 15 batters per nine innings, it is that one magnificent, monumental home run that stands out.

Doesn’t matter if your team went on to win the series or if you bounced back and won the World Series just four years later. Doesn’t matter at all. When you’re Brad Lidge, you’re the guy who gave up that home run to Albert Pujols. Brad Lidge let his agents and representation know tonight that he plans to retire from baseball after eleven seasons, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.

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Albert Pujols is, as you might know, a very good baseball player. He is one of the finest hitters in the game today and probably one of the finest hitters to ever play the game of baseball. He is, by virtue of the free agent contract signed this past winter with the Los Angeles Angels, insanely wealthy and a shoo-in Hall of Famer.

Despite being one of the premier sluggers of his generation, Albert Pujols does not strikeout very often. He is the only hitter in the big leagues this year to strike out less than 12% of his plate appearances while posting an ISO over .200 (min 400 PAs.) As such, Albert Pujols does not strike out three times in a single game very often at all, earning this dubious hat trick just ten times in his career and not since 2010. Make that eleven, after last night – the first time against a single pitcher.
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On May 22nd, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim found themselves eight games behind the AL West Division leading Texas Rangers.

Since that date, the following has happened to the Angels:

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