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On the offensive: the 3rd spot

February 21, 2008

The Great Pujols 

I did not think that I would have much to say about the great mr. pujols….but I guess now I do have stuff to say with all the elbow surgery talk.

So, uh, all this surgery talk had me worried. now, as pujols always seems to do, he shook off all the talk of him needing imminent elbow surgery.

so, supposedly he has had this ligament injury since 2003, but it seems to have escalated the last couple of seasons; especially last season.

I’ve read articles in which he states that he will not endure the pain that he went through last season if it happens again; he will probably opt for surgery. this was one thing he chose not to do this offseason.

wonder why? obviously, the cardinals chances of making the playoffs are slim to none (barring a miracle) and let’s not even talk of actually competing or winning the division. I think, with this squad and the cardinals performing at their best (without carpenter and mulder and now clement for half a season), they would be lucky to finish third in the division and could be as bad as 5th. a couple of games ahead of the crappy pirates.

so, the question is still on the table; why not go under the knife and get it over with? it looks like a lost season to me and it would take most if not the whole season to recover from the surgery. I guess albert does not want to be operated on by george paletta; gee, I wonder why?

so, the plan is to rest pujols as much as possible; that is, less at bats in spring training, less tossing practice and possibly more days off during the season. I guess that’s the only thing you can do when you opt not to have surgery.

La Russa said Pujols will participate in a limited scope of throwing drills and that “he’ll probably have less at-bats in spring when camps ends than in previous years.”
Pujols repeatedly has said the sprained ligament in his elbow is not a problem, now. La Russa has said Pujols is “one tweak away” from trouble.
To reduce the number of opportunities he has to tweak, Pujols, who has had at least 65 plate appearances in four of the past five springs, could have fewer at-bats.La Russa also said he’ll discuss the need to set aside days off for Pujols in the regular season, like a Sunday before an off day to get the first baseman back-to-back breathers.
“It’s something you would consider,” La Russa said.
Asked this week about such a schedule, Pujols said: “I go by how my body feels.”

now, to the statistics we go! by all accounts, last season was a very good season in regards to pujols offensive production. ….but… was not pujols-esque if you get my drift. here is his stat line from last season: 158 G/565 AB/32 HR/103 RBI/99 BB/58 SO/.429 OBP/.327AVG.

If you do not associate those numbers to alber pujols, you would say those numbers were put up by a star player; a great all around offensive threat that hits for power, average, does not strike out much and gets on base. the problem is we are talking about albert pujols and we hold him to much higher expectations than other superstars…..and he is the best thing we got here in the STL.

His stats this year well also depend, to a large extent, on who is hitting in front of him and who is hitting behind him. with tlr, I think ankiel is hitting in front. now, who is hitting behind pujols in the clean up spot would depend: most of the time it will be glaus from what I’ve heard and read tlr say about the lineup, but sometimes it might be duncan. so, if the guy behind pujols is in a slump, he won’t get anything good to hit. if he has a hot bat, then pujols might see some balls. also, pujols’ rbi total might seem a dramatic change if ank continues his power surge and hits 30+ homers this season. that might take a lot of rbis from pujols and cause teams to walk him since no one would be on base in front of him.

so, prediction time; whats albert going to do this season. when healthy:150 G/ 545 AB/ 37 HR/111 RBI/95 BB/ 62 SO/.433 OBP/.333 AVG. here, you can obviously see that I expect him to get a more games off then he usually does and maybe when a game is out of hand to get someone else in to pinch hit for him and play first base at the end of games. 

you know what, I don’t even want to think what would happen if pujols is out for the season. at least of the team sucks, we got pujols to entertain us; if pujols goes down…….I just don’t want to talk about it. it would just be too depressing, nothing at all to watch; except maybe colby getting some playing time.

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