Monday, June 20, 2011
Pujols injury affects more than just 2011
Albert Pujols will miss four-to-six weeks with a small fracture in his forearm, an injury that comes just as he was heating up at the plate. Since snapping a career-long 105 homerless at-bat streak on May 23, Pujols had really improved his power.
His slugging percentage was up more than 270 points since May 23 and he had more home runs in the 25 games since than he did in the 48 games through May 22.
Most of his improvement in the power department since May 23 has come against righties. He is slugging just .333 with no home runs against left-handed pitchers since May 23, after slugging .452 with three home runs against lefties through May 22.
His slugging percentage against righties has increased from .396 to .763, and all 10 of his long balls since May 23 have come against right-handed pitchers.
Despite his recent improvements, Pujols is still off to one of the worst starts of his career. With Pujols out, the Cardinals could move Lance Berkman to first baseman and put Jon Jay in right field.
Although he’s having a down year by his standards, Pujols has still been a major part of the Cardinals' offense, leading the team in runs scored and tying for the team lead with Lance Berkman in homeruns. He’s second on the team in both RBI and OPS.
Cliff Floyd and Derrek Lee have been mentioned as parallels to Albert Pujols since they both suffered similar wrist injuries. Pujols may not have it as bad as it's being widely assumed.
Lee injured his wrist in 2006 and his power has been drained every since. Floyd first injured his wrist in 1995 when he was 22 years old and then he had surgery after the 2000 season. His power numbers actually increased after his operation.
• Pujols has struggled this year on defense with -4 Defensive Runs Saved at first base (i.e. he cost his team 4 runs with his defense). Pujols has never finished a season with negative Defensive Runs Saved.
• Berkman has struggled in his limited time at first this season. He has -2 Defensive Runs Saved in 40 innings there, but over the previous three seasons combined (2008-10) and 3,248 innings, he had a combined 16 Defensive Runs Saved.
• Berkman has been worse as a rightfielder this season, with -5 Defensive Runs Saved (worst among MLB RF).
• Jon Jay has been strong in 178 ⅔ innings in rightfield, with three Defensive Runs Saved this season.
Pujols has had 10 straight seasons of 30 HR, 100 RBI and a .300 BA, the longest streak in MLB history. He’s also one of four players to play in at least 140 games in each of the past 10 seasons. The others are Ichiro Suzuki, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu.