Found May 02, 2013 on
Monkey with a Halo:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a guest post from Michael Pina. Michael Pina is a writer for ESPN’s TrueHoop Network. His work has been published at The Classical and ScoreBig.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelVPina.
There were many rational reasons why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million contract five weeks before his 32nd birthday.
Most of them, unfortunately, are vaguely related to winning baseball games. Paying him $30 million in 2021, when Pujols would be 41 years old, has almost nothing to do with that.
Similar to just about every player in professional sports history who ever signed an outrageous nine figure contract at the age of 32, it’s nearly impossible for Pujols to live up to the public’s expectations.
Albert Pujols is no longer Albert Pujols. Let’s get that out of the way before going any further. Excusing the very real possibility that he isn’t a human being, the natural aging process will prevent him from ever scraping at the ceiling of another 50 homerun season again. Those days are long gone.
But Pujols isn’t yet at the stage in his career where any contract, no matter how large, should overshadow what he’s still able to accomplish on the field. He’s still productive, feared, respected, and, at times, lethal with a bat in his hands. Pitchers aren’t looking forward to facing him and whoever’s batting one spot up still appreciates all those good looking pitches.
But all that is a light year from stating he can’t play, or that he’s near the end. Pujols is still extremely dangerous when his heels dig deep in the right sight of home plate. His swing is still a calibrated coil; a well-timed discharge.
He still draws walks (as of April 30 he’d drawn 14 walks, half as many as league leader and MVP Joey Votto). Pujols has also been intentionally walked five times, which is second only to Ryan Braun (Pujols is the all-time leader in intentional walks among active players), and he still has incredible plate discipline. After striking out three times in his first four games of the season, Pujols ran off an impressive string of 11 straight games where he failed to strike out once.
His last season with the St. Louis Cardinals was his first season as a major league player batting below .300. It was his 11th year, which is absolutely stunning.
Despite being sandwiched between Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton (seriously, how insanely terrifying is a Trout, Pujols, Hamilton order? Based on reputation alone they’d be more than enough to give a struggling reliever heart palpitations) projections for Pujols entering the 2013 season weren’t the most uplifting thing of all time, but at the same time they’d be happily accepted by just about any hitter in the world.
According to ZiPS on Fangraphs, Pujols was marked down for 26 home runs, 74 runs, and 80 RBI this year. All would be the worst of his career by a semi-considerable margin. Digging deeper, his .359 on base percentage and .509 slugging percentage were also dramatic drop offs from his prime.
Batting average is far from the be all, end all statistic used to measure a hitter’s ability at the plate, but seeing Albert Pujols bat below .270, as he is right now, is anomalous. That may or may not be due to an ongoing battle with plantar fasciitis in his left foot (an injury that he triumphed over in years past), but regardless, other numbers show that today’s Pujols probably shouldn’t be judged against his own past.
His ground ball to fly ball ratio is way above his career average, with only 29.2% of balls he puts in play flying off the bat with any lift whatsoever (his career fly ball percentage is 39.9%). And pitchers appear to be throwing him slightly more sliders than normal. He’s always been patient at the plate, and it appears that attribute might need to be his best friend this season if he’s to maximize his still awesome physical ability.
Bottom line: The money should be a non-issue at this point. Pujols still has a ton to offer, but the expectations he still faces need to be tempered just a bit. He’s still a highly productive baseball player and one of Anaheim’s most potent weapons. His numbers will never again be what they once were, but that’s still good enough to be one of the best third hitters in baseball.
BEST OF MAXIM
There is a lot wrong with the LA Angels. Instead of being the World Series contender many thought they would be, the Halos have struggled to a 10-17 record and are already on the verge of having to declare 2013 a lost season. The problem that gets the most attention is Josh Hamilton. While he is having a miserable season, he attracts the attention simply based on brand name recognition...
Just when it looks like things can't get any worse for the Angels, Mike Scioscia goes and makes a fool of himself. This scene from last night's Angels-Athletics games features a confused Scioscia heading out to the mound with a 3-1 count on Adam Rosales. Of course Scioscia can't do that because pitching coach Mike Butcher went out for a mound visit to pitcher Nick Maronde...
The Los Angeles Angels don't seem to be having any more luck than the Dodgers when it comes to pitcher health this season. Reliever Scott Downs was forced to leave the Angels' 5-4 win over the Athletics on Wednesday night with a rib injury, which could mean the Angels will have used nineteen - yes, nineteen - pitchers this season by the end of Thursday's game against...
The Los Angeles Angels have recalled right handed pitcher Ryan Brasier from Triple-A Salt Lake as Nick Maronde‘s replacement on the parent roster. He will take on a role in the Los Angeles bullpen.
The post Los Angeles Angels Recall Pitcher Ryan Brasier appeared first on FFLockerRoom | NFL - MLB News | Fantasy Sports Advice | Sports Talk.
Monday night and Tuesday morning, the A’s and Angels played a game for the ages, a 19-inning affair that saw the hosts rally in the ninth and the 15th before walking off in the game’s seventh hour. The game featured 18 runs and nearly 600 pitches, and in the end, the A’s improved to 15-12, while the Angels fell to something much worse than that. Generally, such games are immediately...
By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
MAY 3, 2002
GAME 28 - ANGELS AT BLUE JAYS
TORONTO -- A bloop hit, an error, a walk and suddenly Troy Percival was in the eye of the storm again. The Angels closer, called upon to save a two-run lead in the ninth inning Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, didn't blink.
With the bases loaded and one out, Percival...
The May 2nd, 2013 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including Madson has scar tissue removed, the Angel bullpen is a disaster and much more...
The Story: Ryan Madson had scar tissue removed from his elbow.
The Monkey Says: He played catch yesterday for the first time in over two weeks, so this obviously wasn't a major procedure, but it sure as hell isn...
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Jason Vargas pitched a three-hitter for his first victory with his new club, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout homered and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 Friday night.
Vargas (1-3) threw 107 pitches, striking out three and walking two while getting 15 groundball outs. The shutout was the fourth by the left-hander in 136 career starts and his...
Are Albert Pujols and the Angels the "best team on paper"? (Credit)
Fans are continuously told that what a team has on paper means nothing once it takes the field. There is too much luck and uncontrollable forces for a team to be named “king” based solely on how it looks on a lineup card.
Although that may be true, what is to stop us from having some fun and determining...
By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
MAY 2, 2002
GAME 27 - ANGELS AT INDIANS
CLEVELAND -- They made it look easy, their 8-0 win over the suddenly hapless Cleveland Indians completing a three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to seven games, but the Angels aren't about to gloat.
''Easy?'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, repeating...
By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
MAY 1, 2002
GAME 26 - ANGELS AT INDIANS
CLEVELAND – Jarrod Washburn spent much of Wednesday afternoon in the Angels clubhouse making sure a group of his teammates were committed to going on the early-morning fishing trip he organized for today.
Ramon Ortiz, though, promised to go only if Washburn pitched well against the...
Jason Vargas pitched a three-hitter for his first victory with his new club, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout homered and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 Friday night.
Vargas (1-3) threw 107 pitches, striking out three and walking two while getting 15 groundball outs. The shutout was the fourth by the left-hander in 136 career starts and his ninth complete game....
This past weekend, I decided to attend a couple AAA games for the Angels, mostly due to the convenience of only having to travel two hours to see them play in Sacramento, but also to get a better idea as to what they have to offer in terms of pitching and hitting. I can’t say I was terribly surprised by the results, but they were considerably less optimistic than even I could...
Sometimes being smart sucks. For instance, back when the season began I wrote about how the April schedule for our beloved Halos looked particularly brutal. Thanks to a poor rotation and an incompetent bullpen, I ended up looking pretty smart. I also ended up with an ulcer because I really didn't want to be right about that and it is now stressing me out.
But sometimes being...