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Critical year for Albert


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I believe this year will be critical for Albert Pujols. Whether he bounces back and returns to something near his level of production with St. Louis remains to be seen. Whether he can do that and also put up good numbers into his later-30's is even more unclear.

 

Baseball Reference has a list of hitters similiar to Albert through age 33 in their careers. Here are their OPS stats at age 32/33/34 and some years beyond that.

 

(I've deleted Manny Ramirez due to the steroids question.)

 

Player                         OPS at age 32        33         34          35           37            39        age/retired

 

ALBERT PUJOLS                        .859      .767      .551 (current season, small sample)

 

Frank Robinson                           .834      .955      .918       .894        .861         .894       40

 

Hank Aaron                                 .895      .943      .852      1.003      1.079       1.045      42

 

Ken Griffey, Jr                             .784      .936      .864        .946        .869         .735      40

 

Willie Mays                                  .962     .990     1.043       .924        .860         .897      42

 

Jimmie Foxx                                .993     .917      .664       DNP        .756                      37

 

Mickey Mantle                            1.015    .831      .927       .825                                     36

 

Lou Gehrig                                 1.049    1.174    1.116      .932                                    36

 

Vlad Guerrero                              .950      .886      .794      .841                                     37

 

Mel Ott                                        .898      .912      .810      .967        .132                      38

 

 

What I found troubling at first was the big drop-off last year, at age 33, compared to the other hitters on the list. But Albert was also injured much of the season. He's not far off from the others at age 32 (his first season with the Angels).

 

All the hitters above, except for Foxx, had a very healthy OPS at age 35. Mantle and Guerrero were the only other players below .900 at that age, and both retired soon after.

 

 

 

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I really have a hard time considering last year as a viable indicator of him falling off a cliff.  He was literally playing on one leg.  He's certainly declining, and the slow start hasn't helped win anyone over.  Look at what Griffey and Robinson did at age 32.  I think both dealt with injuries as did Albert, and then they bounced back.  

 

The main thing that will hold albert back is his health.  He was very good for most of 2012.  

 

Also, Vlad is much different than everyone on that list and it makes the most sense that he would decline the quickest relative to his skillset.  Mantle was a horrible alcoholic and took horrible care of himself.  

Edited by Dochalo
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To me the biggest questions with Pujols is not his health, it's the question of why his approach is so much different now than it was in his prime. Why is he swinging at more and more pitches out of the strike zone? Why is he rolling over every pitch to the left side? 

Yes his bat speed has slowed a bit, yes he has lost distance on his fly balls but that doesn't explain the bad pitch selection and the complete disregard for center and right field...

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To me the biggest questions with Pujols is not his health, it's the question of why his approach is so much different now than it was in his prime. Why is he swinging at more and more pitches out of the strike zone? Why is he rolling over every pitch to the left side? 

Yes his bat speed has slowed a bit, yes he has lost distance on his fly balls but that doesn't explain the bad pitch selection and the complete disregard for center and right field...

honestly, I think some of it is ego and frustration.  I think he's having a hard time accepting that he's not as good as he used to be.  He seems to want to constantly prove that he's still the best and it's causing him to be overly aggressive.  

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Trout should be running. Period. Right now, teams know they have a much better chance of Albert hitting into a DP, than of Trout attempting to steal and that's they way they're pitching and defending him. I don't know if they would be pitching him any different if Trout's on second, but at least he's on second and it takes out the chance for a DP with a red hot Hamilton coming to the plate.

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What's the point in being the fastest player in baseball going 90 feet if you aren't going to run?  Scioscia's forcing Trout into a station to station role because he lacks the necessary creativity to realize he's got Willie Effing Mays on his hands. 

 

As for Albert, I think we're all operating under the assumption he's 34 years old.  I seriously doubt he is.  Just looking at him, combined with the coincidental fact that he came over from the Dominican Republic just in time to graduate high school here seems a little fishy.  I think there's a reasonably decent chance he's more like 35 or 36. 

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What's the point in being the fastest player in baseball going 90 feet if you aren't going to run?  Scioscia's forcing Trout into a station to station role because he lacks the necessary creativity to realize he's got Willie Effing Mays on his hands. 

 

As for Albert, I think we're all operating under the assumption he's 34 years old.  I seriously doubt he is.  Just looking at him, combined with the coincidental fact that he came over from the Dominican Republic just in time to graduate high school here seems a little fishy.  I think there's a reasonably decent chance he's more like 35 or 36. 

 

Starting to feel the same way. Used to scoff at the age allegations but man...he got old real fast.

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I tried to do something really clever and "fix" the OP, pushing Albert's age back a couple years, but it didn't really work with the skipping years towards the end.

 

Anyhow, I've always suspected his age but it just seems more likely that he's 2-3 years older. He's experienced a monumental drop-off for a player of his caliber; it would make more sense if he's 36 or 37 now.

 

But I'm willing to give him a few more weeks before proclaiming him completely dead in the water. 7 games is just that - 7 games. Let's see what his numbers look like on May 1.

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He's definitely been hard to watch so far this season, not even just at the plate.  He's made multiple defensive miscues; I can remember two in one game the other day just off the top of my head (throw to phantom first baseman on the bunt attempt, not reaching an easily playable foul pop-up).  That was the same game where he got caught in between first and second on a single by Hamilton as well.

 

I'm trying to be patient with the guy, but his shitty play on both sides of the ball coupled with his constant look of exasperation/stinkface are making it harder by the day.

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