Albert Pujols is still one of the best hitters in all of baseball, which is why the Los Angeles Angels made him one of the richest players in the history of the game. However, the Pujols that played for the Angels last season seemed like he was a shell of his former self, seeing as he was terrible for the first two months of the season. One can assume that Pujols felt the pressure to produce right away because of the contract, but no one could have predicted such a decline from the multiple MVP winner. While Pujols’ .516 slugging percentage is solid, I can’t help but worry about his declining rate of base on balls.
What made Pujols one of the most lethal hitters for the St. Louis Cardinals was his ability to be in complete control at the plate. Like all the great hitters before him, Pujols consistently drew more walks than he had strikeouts. Somewhere along the way, though, Pujols changed his hitting style. From 2006-2010, Pujols worst BB% was 14.5 and the average was over 15.0. The last two seasons, however, Pujols’ BB% has been in the single-digits, including a ridiculously low – for his standards – 7.8 BB% in 2012.
It was clear that Pujols was trying to hit out of his slump last season, ruining his BB% with every bad swing he took. But if the Angels want to win the World Series and live up to the massive hype that is surrounding them in 2013, they will need the Albert Pujols they thought they were signing last winter. The Angels need the guy who can draw around 80-90 walks and have an on-base percentage that surpasses the .400 mark.
If the Angels get that Pujols, the guy who was “The Machine” in an ESPN commercial, it’s likely that they will make a deep run into October.