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Maybe the HR Derby isn't such a good idea

Aug 21, 2009, 9:50 AM EDT

Are we ready to blame the Home Run Derby for squashing Albert Pujols’ chance at the Triple Crown, or is that just an easy excuse? We remember players from the past flaming out after taking part in the Derby – David Wright hit only 6 HR after the break in 2006, and of course Bobby Abreu hit a mere 6 dingers in the second half after dominating the slugfest the year before – but such a thing couldn’t happen to Big Al, right?

Perhaps it’s because we’re looking at a small sample size or maybe a slight statistical decline was inevitable because no human being can keep up the absurd offensive pace that Pujols set from April through early July. But it’s worth peeking at the splits before and after the Derby:
Before: 90 G, .332/.456/.723, 32 HR, 87 RBI, 35 K
After:    31 G, .280/.401/.525, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 14 K
These aren’t bad numbers – I’ll take a .926 OPS, thank you. They’re just not what we were getting from Pujols a couple months ago. Did the HR Derby mess up his swing a bit? Probably the only person who might know is him. And it must be nice to be in a relative slump and still have 39 HR in late August.
  1. Steven R. - Aug 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM

    These guys have been hitting a baseball for 15 years or more by the time they reach a home run derby. Are you telling me that swinging hard approx. 30 times can wreck them for the season? That’s crazy.

  2. matt w - Aug 21, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Look at guys like Ryan Howard and the way he is hitting. He was certainly not affected by the derby.

  3. Jim - Aug 21, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Ryan Howard has never had this problem and he’s been in 3 Home Run Derby’s and has never had this issue. In fact his second half is normally an improvement over his first half.

  4. sirsean - Aug 21, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    And what about Joe Mauer this year? Has his swing been “messed up” by participating in the HR Derby?
    Before the break: .373/.447/.622, 15 HR, 35 K, 35 BB
    After the break: .392/.449/.696, 10 HR, 12 K, 13 BB
    Frankly, whether you’re getting a 1.069 OPS or an 1.145 OPS from your catcher, you’re doing well. But I think it’s pretty clear the derby didn’t screw with Mauer.

  5. Ryan - Aug 21, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    I truly don’t know why people worry so much about Albert Pujols. Remember his bad year is a good year for anyone else.

  6. JRay - Aug 21, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    As a Cards fan that watches every game it is true that Albert is in a bit of a funk.He is swinging at bad pitches he never has in the past. But history has proven that he always comes out of it in due time. I still believe that he will hit 50+ homers,approx 130+ RBI’s and over .330.
    And if he comes up short and his team gets in the World Series….who cares?

  7. Lou - Aug 21, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    Hasn’t hurt Prince……

  8. KeepingItReal - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    Pujols had info leaked to him about an upcoming drug test after the All Star break, so he had to get off the PED’s.

  9. BROOKS - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    What evidence do you have for this allegation?

  10. Gee - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    I would be more concerned that Pujols actually hurt his elbow during all-star break. He tends to keep injuries quiet and plays through them. I would not be suprised to hear that he is having off season surgery.

  11. Bobby Townsend - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    Sure hasn’t slowed Prince Fielder at all and Nelson Cruz has been on the D.L. so it is hard to tell. I think is fewer and fewer are
    taking part. Justin Morneau was invited but withdrew. You may see more and more players do that because the word is it messes up the players swing. Perhaps maybe tweak the rules a little so a players does not have take as many swings

  12. Aaron Dawson - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    In the text under the headline for this story, the word affect is inappropriately used. Affect is the verb; effect, the noun.

  13. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    WHEN IT FINALLY COMES OUT THAT PUJOLS USED STEROIDS, ALOT OF PEOPLE
    WILL MESS UP THEIR UNDER WEAR ESPECIALLY THOSE IN St. Louis …..
    LaRussa IS THE SUPPLIER ASK BIG MAC………….

  14. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    THANKS, WE WILL ALL SLEEP BETTER TONIGHT, NOTICED YOU HAD NO
    SPORTS COMMENT, AFTER YOU PROOF MY COMMENT YOU CAN GO FINISH PLAYING DOLLY HOUSE WITH THE OTHER WOMAN…….

  15. HOTRODFAIL - Aug 21, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    HOTROD, glad to know that you are incapable of moving your finger less than half an inch to turn off your caps key.

  16. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    AH……… THE LIST WITH A HUNDRED NAMES OF PED USERS………
    DUH……………
    GET OUT OF YOUR BUBBLE…………..
    MAN YOU WILL SHEET YOUR PANTS WHEN IT COMES OUT……….

  17. El Skoro - Aug 21, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    Pujols is going through a bit of a slump. He’ll pull out of it before long and be back in form. When that happens, the Cardinals will more than likely win the NL Central by a comfortable margin. Teams facing St Louis in the playoffs will have to beware of the middle of the Cardinal line-up. Matt Holiday makes Pujols even more dangerous.

  18. tony bolivar - Aug 21, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    I think is no way a homerun derby can’t screw albert puljos or anhybody else swing …if you follow everyday when they have
    battting practice they have homerun derby they all try to hit it out daily WHY THEN WE LOOK FOR EXCUSES for players we all know he is a human and he also can go true a little funk time like all the rest…….so enought of this sh……….and stats LET PLAY
    PUJOLS IS AND IT WILL BE OK…….LOVE BASEBALL

  19. Ralph Ackerman - Aug 21, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    Tiger Woods and Albert are both human beings that are going to stumble now and then. At least by the standards that we judge them by.
    Let’s enjoy what they do for their respective sports and don’t expect them to be perfect !! Ok ??

  20. Kevin E - Aug 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    Albert is more than slugging. Wed in LA in the 9th he walks, steals second (notes that the Dodgers are not paying attention – smart too),goes to third on a bad throw and scores on sac fly. He does everything – don’t worry about him. Just be thankful for him.

  21. Kman - Aug 21, 2009 at 6:59 PM

    looks like your hot rod got in an accident and left you permanently brain damaged…as evidenced by your stupid comments…
    Go to the Gym sometime in ST. louis and watch Albert workout…he is the real deal…how many days have you spent in the big leagues..yeah..0

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