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How far is Albert Pujols behind his usual home run pace?

May 18, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

Albert Pujols, Jeff Mathis AP

Albert Pujols is finally showing some signs of life for the Angels, homering in back-to-back games after going deep just once through his first 36 games.

He’s still hitting just .214 with a .248 on-base percentage and .325 slugging percentage overall and obviously three homers in 39 total team games is shockingly little power for Pujols. But exactly how far is he behind his usual home run pace?

Here are Pujols’ homer totals through 39 team games in each of his 12 seasons:

2001     14
2002      5
2003      9
2004      9
2005     10
2006     19
2007      7
2008      7
2009     13
2010      8
2011      7
2012      3

Even after homering in back-to-back games Pujols is two homers short of his career-worst mark through 39 games, established way back in his second season. In the nine seasons between then and now he never hit fewer than seven homers through 39 team games and for his career Pujols has averaged 9.8 homers through 39 team games.

In other words, it was a good 48 hours but Pujols is still well behind where he’s always been at this point.

  1. proudlycanadian - May 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Thank you Aaron. He is making the Vernon Wells contract look quite good by comparison.

    • paperlions - May 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Ouch. That hurts…because it is true.

      • jason9696 - May 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        I can’t believe the Angels took that huge contract of Vernon Wells off of the Blue Jays hands. Thank you.

  2. diehardcubbiefan4life - May 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    He started pretty slow last year too, but heated up in the summer and was like his usual self, but his overall numbers weren’t exactly Pujols-esque. You gotta wonder if at this point in his career he’ll be a slow starter. You also can’t put it all on Pujols, he’s facing a whole different league of pitchers.

    • fearlessleader - May 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Sure we can put it all on Pujols. He probably knew he’d be facing different pitchers when he decided to go to a different league.

  3. danaking - May 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    The real question here is how many home runs does he average over the last 123 games of a season? I’ll bet he still hits 30. This wouldn’t get 1/10th the attention it has had it come in June. It’s only a big deal because it started the season, so the numbers jump out at you.

    • paperlions - May 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      The HRs are a symptom, not the root problem. He’s not walking. He guessing on too many pitches, making him off balances and draining power. He misses FBs right down the middle, he’s swinging at a lot of balls off the plate. If he doesn’t return to having a .400 OBP, there is no way he’s worth his contract for any year of the deal.

      $25M/year = MVP = .400+ OBP, 170+ wRC+ and .400+ wOBA with decent defense.

      If he hits 30 HR with 100 RBI, crappy defense and a .340 OBP…he’s a league average 1B….not a $25M/year player.

    • fearlessleader - May 18, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      It’s also a big deal because of that big fat contract.

      • kpow55 - May 18, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Unless your name is Arte Moreno, who cares what he makes? Salaries are going to rise and the next guy will make more.

        I think AP’s main detractors on here are Rangers or Dodgers fans (not all, “main”). Rangers being the only other viable team in the division who may be a little bitter of what he did to them last year and the Dodgers who are allegedly losing market share.

        Hamilton and Kemp are off to great starts, Pujos not so much. In a loooooong season i’ll take a slow start any day over a choke finish. It’s insane to think any of the 3 will stay on current pace. Injuries plague Kemp as he tries to carry the team, Hamilton I wish the best but you just never know physically or mentally. Pujols is a pro and a future hall of famer, does anyone truly believe he’s washed up or just poking the enemey while down?

        All 3 will equal out and do well and provide entertainment for years to come.

        If the $240,000,000 really bothers you, quit watching and contributing…… maybe even google/wikipedia “supply and demand”

      • fearlessleader - May 18, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        Kpow55, the question was not what bothered me, but why such a fuss was being made of Albert’s slow start.

      • fearlessleader - May 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        Also, one might argue that Angels fans (I’m not one) should indeed be concerned about what he makes, given that it’s likely to have a significant impact on how this team is built for the next stretch of years. If his numbers are such that he’s carrying the offense, no worries. If he’s in even a moderate decline, as certainly seems to be the case, there’s cause for consternation.

      • evanwins - May 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        kpow53:
        I am neither a Dodgers or Rangers fan.
        Pujols is on a decline. I know you want to be optimistic but reality is reality. And the reality right now is that the Angels just spent a ton of money on a player who has VERY LITTLE chance of being what he has been for the last ten years, for the next ten years.

        And it’s weird I have to explain this to you but fans of teams care what that team spends on its’ players. And fans of sports care about what pliers in those sports make. It’s part of it. GM’s and owners aren’t the only ones who look at salaries. If you didn’t know this already then you probably aren’t smart enough to understand it.

  4. Jonny 5 - May 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    ~130 other players > Pujols right now. It’s kinda strange. Based on fWAR you have to scroll alllll the way to the middle of page six to find him along with the likes of Vernon Wells and Jeff Francoeur who are listed ahead of him btw..

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    At the same time, you could look at it and say that, for as bad as he has been, he is only 4 HR off the pace of some of his best seasons. For a guy changing teams and leagues and cities and yadda yadda, that is not to terrible. He is a Hamiltonesque game from being right where he always has been.

    He also gets to visit some old friends in the NL over the coming weeks, though his next 3 series don’t seem like they will help him any in the HR dept (@SDG, @OAK, @SEA).

  6. marshmallowsnake - May 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    19 Hr in 39 games? WOW!

    • umrguy42 - May 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      Can’t remember if that was the year he started out with 3HR in the first two games…

  7. Francisco (FC) - May 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    “In other words, it was a good 48 hours but Pujols is still well behind where he’s always been at this point.”

    He just needs to team up with Nick Nolte and go for ANOTHER 48 HOURS!

  8. cosmoman11 - May 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Maybe he was just tanking until he got Mickey Hatcher fired.

  9. apbestever - May 18, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Not really off by much, last year he had 7 @ this point. Went to the DL for 2 weeks, and still had 37. and by the way he had a pretty big homerun drought to end the season last year. he could of easily had 40 last year. so this year if hes off by 4, and he hits 33. is that really that bad? it would actually be quite remarkable. I would be more worried about his batting average, and RBIs. Hes on a team with a low OBP. so those RBi might suffer.

    But overall its so disrespectful the way hes been treated. this guys is an all time great, who simply hasnt struggled much in his career. Hes a victim of his own success. but to make it seem like he just fell off the face of the earth and cant hit as so many has said is just insane. i still think he goes on a hot streak and gets to some really good #s this year. this is a guy who more than any other player in baseball history has shown consistency, he goes to a new league, find himself in a situation struggles and now is a bum? no way. he will be ok! i still predict. .290 38HR and 102RBIs.

  10. mybrunoblog - May 18, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Pujols 2012 and beyond will very likely never be as good as Pujols during the 2000’s. Age is taking a toll and that contract is like an anvil on his shoulders.
    Angels will regret this by 2014.

  11. sfm073 - May 18, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    He’ll still his 30 and will continue to do so for the next 3 to 5 years, but the numbers that got him that contract are long gone. My prediction for the next 10 years is .280, 25 hrs and 90 ribs.

  12. proudliberal85392 - May 20, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Once around the AL to get comfortable, then look out.

  13. materialman80 - May 21, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    He should have never left St. Louis…..

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