When fantasy baseball rankings came out last spring, Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels was the top ranked first basemen in almost every fantasy formats. He has been the model of consistency throughout his career and his name has been synonymous with gaudy power numbers.
Unfortunately, the 2013 season was an utter meltdown for The Machine. After playing in at least 143 games in 12 straight seasons, Pujols played in a career-low, 99 games last season. He also posted career-lows in home runs (17), RBIs (64), batting average (.258), OPS (.767), and walks (40). It was by far the worst fantasy campaign of the All-Star’s 12-year career.
Pujols suffered through a very painful plantar fascia injury and it forced the veteran to be used as the team’s designated hitter for months in order to keep him off his feet more. The foot ailment plagued Pujols all year long and eventually forced him to end the season on IR for the first time in his career.
Needless to say, the horrendous fantasy campaign has caused the 34-year-old to plummet in fantasy rankings this season. He has fallen well past the top-10 first basemen in most 2014 rankings and the three-time NL MVP has somehow actually become a sleeper in fantasy drafts.
Pujols has spent all off-season leveling out his swing and the vet has put in a ton of work in the cage. He has also been rumored to be hitting the gym very hard, as his foot injury is behind him, so fantasy fans can expect him to anchor first base all year long.
Pujols won’t be the top-ranked first basemen this spring, but that doesn’t mean he should be completely written off for the upcoming season. Pujols will be worth rolling the dice on after the fourth or fifth round and the veteran should be able to bring his average up to .290 to go along with 25-30 homers.
Don’t let last year fool you, Pujols still has some homers left in his bat.