Coming off of an injury prone season last year, Albert Pujols is looking to become a dominant force at the plate for the Angels in his 14th season in the Major Leagues. His list of accomplishments is lengthy but here goes nothing. In 2001, he began by winning the NL Rookie of the Year award along with a Silver Slugger and All-Star appearance. He then proceeded to win 3 MVP awards in 2005, 2008, and 2009. Additionally, he was a 2 time World Series champion in 2006 and 2011, both with the St. Louis Cardinals. As he is approaching 500 home runs, he has had a stellar career so far and will be interesting to see how he will be able to bounce back from his injury. Lastly, given that he is a .321 career hitter, he certainly has my vote for the Hall of Fame when he retires.
Here is a chart of Pujols’ batting average and on-base percentage over the course of his career. While both of these statistics have been declining for the past 5 seasons, they are still well above the league average. Additionally, in 2003 and 2008 he hit above .350, which is insane for any professional player. As any player winds down their career, it is only natural for their average to decline as pitchers begin to figure out the hitter’s weaknesses.
Unlike his average and OBP, Pujols’ power numbers have been relatively consistent over the course of his career. Below shows a chart of home runs and RBIs over the course of his major league career. It does not include last season because he played much less than a full season. On a per game basis, his HRs and RBIs were comparable to the previous 3 seasons.
Both statistical categories reached peaks in 2006 (49 HRs and 137 RBIs) and 2009 (47 HRs and 135 RBIs). As Pujols has progressed, he has seen a steady decline in home runs since 2009 yet he has still averaged nearly 35 HRs per season since then. As mentioned earlier, he is sure to surpass the 500 home run benchmark early this season as he climbs the ranks some of the baseball greats, such as Ted Williams, Reggie Jackson, and Mike Schmidt.
Personally, the most impressive part about Albert Pujols is his dedication to reaching out the community of St. Louis through his foundation. The Pujols Family Foundation was founded in 2005 and works to help those living with Down syndrome in addition to improving the lives of people in the Dominican Republic who live in poverty. In my mind, this foundation beautifully incorporates Albert’s heritage in the Dominican Republic and his life now, as he and his wife have a daughter with Down syndrome. Combined with his impressive ability on the baseball diamond, his work off the field makes him a hall of fame player in my eyes.