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Home » Columns, Stat Man Jax

Is Pujols in a “Slump”?

Submitted by on August 10, 2010 – 8:33 am 11 Comments

By Jackson White, Stat Man

Only three players in the history of baseball have ever held the distinguished honor of being my favorite for any span of time. In chronological order they are as follows: Robin Ventura (1996-98), Chipper Jones (1999-2002) and Albert Pujols (2003-Present).

I still have admiration for the first two, but Ventura has retired and Jones is in the twilight of his career, so the majority of my idolization has been shifted to Pujols. Of course, with my addiction to stats, Pujols is the perfect candidate to idolize. 

Stat Man Jax

It’s not just the fact he’s had nine .300 AVG, 30 HR, 100 RBI seasons in a row, but the fact he’s done it while having more walks than strikeouts every year except for his rookie campaign.  Seriously, the man’s got three MVP awards, and he’s been in the top five of MVP voting every year but one. Most importantly, he’s performed in the post-season.

So one can understand my chagrin when, throughout 2010, Pujols has been flirting with the .300 line while the Cardinals have been battling the Reds for a playoff spot. Granted, entering this week Pujols has gotten the average back up to .311 but, for a man whose batted at least .327 every year since 2002, this is still surprising.

I’ve been trying to figure out what the source of his problems are, and they’re obvious when looking at the splits.

Average Career 2010 Season (as of 8/9)
Home Games .335 .345
Road Games .329 .278
In STL Wins .373 .354
In STL Losses .278 .258
Ahead In The Count .368 .344
Even Count .330 .301
Behind In The Count .292 .275
Right Handed Pitching .328 .313
Left Handed Pitcing .342 .304

As expected he’s dropped in many areas, but especially in road games (51 points) and against lefties (38 points). 

I know I can’t complain too much (to think Cubs fans would kill for Derek Lee or Aramis Ramirez to be having something close to the season Pujols is having) and maybe I, like most Cardinal fans, am getting spoiled. After all, he’s still on pace for .300, 30, 100.

 That said, Pujols will need to pick it up in order for the Cardinals to pass the Reds, or at least get the wild-card. As the splits show, as Pujols goes, so go the Cardinals.

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  • Adam says:

    I came across the headline of the article and thought it was about this season. Of course, his “slump” last year would be nice to have right now! Ha! Playing the Brewers is killing us right now. Pujols has had a horrible time hitting their pitching. I saw a stat last night where where he was hitting .130 going into the game. Ouch!

    That being said, he will still go down as one of the best hitters of all time. Hope he remains a Cardinal next year!

  • jax says:

    When I wrote this last year, it was kinda sarcastic, I could write the article now and it would actually be a much more legitimate arguement. I know the Cards are fine right now, but gosh I hope Pujols goes on hot streak soon.

  • Joe Powell says:

    I don’t like comparing stats from one year to part of another year. I looked up the stats and the ones from 2009 are for the full year and 2010 for a little over four months. Keep the facts straight when you are comparing. And I have been a baseball fan for a lot longer than I have been a Cardinal fan. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t make me not a BASEBALL fan.

  • Tom says:

    Joe, you have a “big problem with using stats from one year to another”? And you call yourself a baseball fan? Oh, I forgot — you’re a CARDINAL fan, not a BASEBALL fan. Well, we gotta get you on Cornball again sometime soon so we can debate this some more.

  • Joe Powell says:

    My point is that stats can be used in any way someone wants to. When someone say that can explain why someone is having a problem, I have a big problem with using stats from one year to another. If you look at his stats after today, they are a lot better than those quoted in the article.

  • Jack says:

    Joe, Joe, Joe — Typical Cardinal fan. Can you not see by Jackson’s comments that he’s a HUGE Albert fan? Why doest thou take offense — like a Cryin’ Illini fan?

  • Tom says:

    Joe, my brother, we come to praise Albert, not bury him. I guess that particular irony to the piece Jax wrote is lost on you, eh?

  • Joe Powell says:

    I think you take can take stats and mold them any way you want them to come out. Two weeks ago Albert was batting .294 with 23 homers and 71 rbis. As of today he is batting .313 with 28 homers and 84 rbis. In two weeks he has gained 19 points on his batting with 5 homers and 13 rbis in only 12 games. At this rate he will finish batting over .330 with 40 homers and 122 rbis. One other thing, Albert “worst” season was 2007 when he batted .327 with 32 homers and 103 rbis. It was the only season when he did not bat over .300 , with 30 or more homers, 100 or more rbis or 100 runs scored. He only scored 99 runs that year.

  • Tom Jackson says:

    Joe, that’s the irony of Albert’s situation: The leading NL hitters are right around .320 this year, so if Albert has his worst year since 2002, he’s probably still more likely to win the Triple Crown than he’s been in the last eight years.

  • Joe Powell says:

    Why are you running down Albert when he is in contention for the triple crown? What other NL player has year in year out being capable of being a triple crown winner? If he bats over .327 with 40 homers and 120 rbis will you be satisfied?

  • Tom says:

    Great breakdown in that table, there, Jax! Think about this: Albert is hitting .313 including last night’s game, leads the league in RBI and is just two behind for the homer lead (28 to Adam Dunn’s 30). The year of the pitcher is even taking a toll, albeit a minimal one, on Pujols!

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