Albert Pujols has not yet hit a home run in 2012. There are many other MLB players that have not hit a home run in 2012. Yet, Pujols draws more attention for his lack of home runs than all of these other homerless MLB players combined. Let’s take a look at the MLB players who do not have a home run this year, perhaps people are being too hard on Pujols for his lack of home runs, despite the 10 year, $240 million contract he just signed with the LA Angels.
There are 588 MLB players who show up on the ESPN statistics page as having zero home runs. That’s a lot of players! There are 833 MLB players on the page, meaning that only 245 players have hit a home run this year, which is just 29% of the list. So maybe Pujols is getting undue judgment for his lack of home runs.
Now that I look further, I see that 305 of the players on this list have zero at-bats. So 528 players have 1 at-bat or more, of which 245 have a home run, or 46%. That’s not so good for Pujols to not be in the 46%, but still, he’s in the majority.
It probably doesn’t need to be re-stated, but I’ll re-state it anyway, Albert Pujols is considered one of the best hitters in the game right now. And that’s one of the best power hitters in the game. I don’t even need to say he’s “arguably” one of the best hitters. He just is.
Of the remaining 283 players with at least 1 at-bat and zero home runs, Pujols is one of them. He is #1 in terms of salary. He is #4 in terms of at-bats. He is #13 in terms of hits. He is #5 in doubles. He is #24 in RBI. He is #18 in BB. He is #110 in batting average, #126 in on-base percentage, and #91 in slugging percentage.
There are only 35 players that have a qualified number of at-bats with no home runs. Albert Pujols is one of those 35. The most surprising, besides Pujols, on that list: Andrew McCutchen, Alfonso Soriano, Mark Reynolds, and maybe guys like Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francoeur, and Marlon Byrd. The rest of the players are the kind who aren’t supposed to hit home runs, or just plain aren’t very good. Clearly, Albert Pujols is the most surprising. If you add up the total value of the contracts of those 6 semi-surprising players it is still less than Pujols’ $240 million.
Even on Pujols’ own team, there are 7 players that have a home run, of which he is not one. There are 7 players with a plate appearance without a home run, of which he is one.
This is the worst month of Albert Pujols’ career. His OPS is .561, almost 200 points lower than his previous worst month’s OPS. He has never, never, played one month without hitting a home run in his career, and he has played 67 months in Major League Baseball. He has one game left, tonight, on April 30th, to prevent that streak from ending.
But he is still Albert Pujols, so he just might do it. And now that I’ve committed over 500 words document his failures, I feel fairly confident that tonight is the night.