Angels Need Albert Pujols to Step Up & Produce in Heart of Lineup.

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Updated: April 27, 2017

Regardless of what you may hear from the Angels or Albert Pujols himself, the decline is real. If you don’t believe me, just look at this:

Standard Batting
Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2001 STL 161 676 590 112 194 47 4 37 130 1 69 93 .329 .403 .610 1.013 157
2002 STL 157 675 590 118 185 40 2 34 127 2 72 69 .314 .394 .561 .955 151
2003 STL 157 685 591 137 212 51 1 43 124 5 79 65 .359 .439 .667 1.106 187
2004 STL 154 692 592 133 196 51 2 46 123 5 84 52 .331 .415 .657 1.072 173
2005 STL 161 700 591 129 195 38 2 41 117 16 97 65 .330 .430 .609 1.039 168
2006 STL 143 634 535 119 177 33 1 49 137 7 92 50 .331 .431 .671 1.102 178
2007 STL 158 679 565 99 185 38 1 32 103 2 99 58 .327 .429 .568 .997 157
2008 STL 148 641 524 100 187 44 0 37 116 7 104 54 .357 .462 .653 1.114 192
2009 STL 160 700 568 124 186 45 1 47 135 16 115 64 .327 .443 .658 1.101 189
2010 STL 159 700 587 115 183 39 1 42 118 14 103 76 .312 .414 .596 1.011 173
2011 STL 147 651 579 105 173 29 0 37 99 9 61 58 .299 .366 .541 .906 148
2012 LAA 154 670 607 85 173 50 0 30 105 8 52 76 .285 .343 .516 .859 138
2013 LAA 99 443 391 49 101 19 0 17 64 1 40 55 .258 .330 .437 .767 116
2014 LAA 159 695 633 89 172 37 1 28 105 5 48 71 .272 .324 .466 .790 126
2015 LAA 157 661 602 85 147 22 0 40 95 5 50 72 .244 .307 .480 .787 118
2016 LAA 152 650 593 71 159 19 0 31 119 4 49 75 .268 .323 .457 .780 113
2017 LAA 22 94 89 5 22 3 0 2 17 0 5 17 .247 .287 .348 .636 83
17 Y 17 Y 2448 10646 9227 1675 2847 605 16 593 1834 107 1219 1070 .309 .391 .570 .962 156
162 162 162 705 611 111 188 40 1 39 121 7 81 71 .309 .391 .570 .962 156
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
STL STL 1705 7433 6312 1291 2073 455 15 445 1329 84 975 704 .328 .420 .617 1.037 170
LAA LAA 743 3213 2915 384 774 150 1 148 505 23 244 366 .266 .324 .470 .794 122
NL ( NL ( 1705 7433 6312 1291 2073 455 15 445 1329 84 975 704 .328 .420 .617 1.037 170
AL ( AL ( 743 3213 2915 384 774 150 1 148 505 23 244 366 .266 .324 .470 .794 122

You can see the obvious regression ever year since Albert has joined the Halos, and even for a few years before that. Granted, Pujols’ lows are still higher than a lot of players in baseball, particularly in the Angels’ lineup, but that regression is there. Credit Pujols for maintaining his power, for the most part, as he’s still hit at least twenty-eight home runs in every year with the Angels except for an injury-shortened 2013. You could cite RBI as well, if you’re into that sort of thing, although anybody batting behind Mike Trout is going to drive in some runs. Pujols’ regression is not abnormal. This is his seventeenth year in the league; he’s not exactly a young man anymore. He’s been obviously hampered by various foot ailments in his time with the Angels, and anybody who’s seen him ‘run’ the bases for the Halos knows he’s slowed down considerably.

All that being said, the Angels need Pujols in the heart of their lineup. They don’t really have any other options to bat behind Trout. C.J. Cron, fair or not, isn’t going to get the opportunity. Kole Calhoun is needed at the top of the order to set up Trout. Jefry Marte is not the answer. Neither is Andrelton Simmons or Cameron Maybin or anyone else. The only person who’s capable of that sort of role is Pujols, but he has mostly struggled this year. The Angels have the potential to field a solid lineup just by virtue of having the best player in the world in Trout, but he needs backup. Pujols is the closest thing they have to a sidekick for Trout, but he hasn’t been able to deliver the goods so far this year.

If last season was the peak for Pujols and he’s truly beginning to decline, that’s very bad news for the Halos. Without a healthy and contributing Pujols, the Angels’ offense is basically sunk. They need Pujols to turn back the clock and provide some power and run production from that cleanup spot, because no one else is going to do what Pujols has been capable of doing in the recent past. The Angels are getting some solid pitching lately, but it’s the offense that’s going to have to drive this team to contention if they want to make any noise this season. They’ll need a lot more from Pujols if they’re going to do it.

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