Legends On Deck

Is Pujols Gearing Up For Another Great Season Out West?

When Albert Pujols played in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, it was almost guaranteed that he would hit between 35-45 home runs and drive in at least 120 runs each season.  And he did this constantly for nearly 11 seasons. It just seemed like it was the norm for him. So when he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2011 for a 10-year/$240 million deal, the question beckoned, could he continue his trend to being one of the greatest home run hitters in the game.

In his first season with the Halo’s, Pujols didn’t disappoint even though he hit just 30 home runs and drove in only 105 RBI’s. Now for any player that is an awesome season, and for Pujols it was a good one, but maybe the expectations were that he would put up bigger numbers as he had done with the Cardinals, especially with the large contract that he was given.

The Dominican Republic native did seem to be on a decline, as he hit under .300 for the first time in his major league career during the 2011 season with the Cards, prior to being granted free agency. He also hadn’t hit below 32 home runs in his whole career with the Red Birds.

In 2012, Pujols found himself on the DL as he would injure his foot which hampered his ability to put up big numbers again. He was forced to be a designated hitter for 65 of the 99 games that he played in. That was the lowest amount of games that Pujols had appeared in during his entire major league career. He would finish 2013 batting .258, with just 17 home runs and 64 RBI’s and called it a season in July.

But 2014 was the season for Pujols to prove that the injury was the only thing keeping him back and maybe a bit of an incentive to prove that the large contract awarded to him was not a waste of money.  So Pujols, respectively hit .272, with 28 home runs and matched his 2012 season total of 105 runs batted in.

The 35-year old is entering his 15th season in baseball and is #21 on the All-Time Home Run list with 520 dingers. There isn’t much doubt that if he is healthy, Pujols will move up the list very quickly this season.

With just matching his 2014 home run totals, Pujols is one home run away from tying Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas.  He is 14 away from tying Jimmie Foxx, 16 from tying Mickey Mantle and 28 from tying Mike Schmidt.  Not a bad group of names to be affiliated with. The coveted number is 600, but that may take a bit longer than just two seasons, unless he recaptures his capabilities of launching 40 home runs each year.

But Pujols looks ready to tackle those milestones as he is having a good spring so far, batting .300, with three home runs and 10 RBI’s and it may not be anywhere near what he did in his first spring training with the Angels in 2012 when he hit .385, with seven home runs and 20 RBI’s, but he is on a good track to start the 2015 season on a positive note.

If anyone is going to break baseball’s greatest home run records in 2015, there isn’t another player active today, that I would rather see doing it than Pujols. He has been a great ambassador of the game and he deserves to be rewarded.

The 2015 season can be a special one for Albert Pujols, as he gets closer to the other baseball greats.

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David Conde
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