Thursday, May 06, 2010

Albert Pujols

On Tuesday night, this writer was thinking about Albert Pujols while pouring over the box scores. According to the one box score that caught the eye, Pujols had struck out twice in Tuesday night's game. "Wow!" thought the Fan. That seemed unusual. But it clicked in the consciousness because a number in Pujols' strikeout column seemed to be happening regularly. We are talking about a guy who has more career walks than strikeouts. His hitting has been legendary but more so because he is a high-average slugger with the rarity that he never strikes out.

And so the Fan did some checking and sure enough, Albert Pujols is striking out and record rates for him. For his entire career, Pujols has strike out per plate appearance ratio of .094. That's an incredible number. But this year, his rate is .146. That's quite a jump. He is on pace to strikeout 95 times this season, something he hasn't done since his rookie season. The highest total since his rookie season has been 69. So this is indeed something strange.

The Fan isn't smart enough to know why Pujols is striking out more. So the Fan turns to someone who does that kind of analysis for a living. For a great in depth look at the numbers, click here. The one number that jumped out was his swing and miss percentage which has jumped from 14% to 19%. That's a big jump.

What does all this mean? Probably nothing. It has seemed that Pujols has been quiet so far this year. But geez, he still has an OPS of 1.022. The strikeout thing is probably a blip in what will probably be just another blistering year for the best hitter in baseball.

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