April 22, 2014

#Pujols joins history with No. 500 - top 20 coming soon

Prince Albert! Getty Images via NBC Sports
I said at the start of this season that I expected Albert Pujols to turn in a year halfway betrween 2011, his last year with the Cardinals, and 2012, his first one with the Angels.

Well, with 8 home runs, he's on pace to do that indeed. Plus, that eighth makes him the 26th player in MLB history to join the 500-HR club

Anyway, per my top link, I'm not alone on that perception. Per this profile piece by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, it's clear that Haloes manager Mike Scioscia feels good about Prince Albert this year too.

And, with a new profile piece from Jayson Stark, we see just how rarified of a performer Pujols is.

With the Rangers struggling with a variety of injuries which, cumulatively, may be worse than Josh Hamilton for the Haloes, Pujols and Mike Trout have a chance to take that team places.

Pujols can take himself places, too.

Just 22 more home runs, for a 30-HR year, from Pujols puts him in the top 20 all time, and past such first basemen as Lou Gehrig, Fred McGriff, Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas, and Eddie Murray. That would leave him at No. 18. A 43-HR season, which I don't think is likely, shoots him past Jimmie Foxx, and 45 puts him past Mickey Mantle.

At the start of the year, I'd thought 43, or more 45, was ridiculous. But now, who knows?

It may be one last twilight year, but, if he can focus, and take a few more walks, who knows about this year.

And, ridiculous as it seems, with last year's injuries, he has to be in discussion for comeback player of the year.

And, he's still at least a bit above average as a fielder, and is probably underrated for his glove.


Beyond this?

On the personal side, it is kind of sad.

I understand why the Cards cut ties with him. It's a business, and they didn't think he was worth that investment. But it hurts a bit seeing him in a different uni, especially when it's different, but has red.

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