Is there better pitching in the AL? I think there might be some truth to what Albert Pujols said in regards to his recent struggles since switching leagues. Cubs’ fans seem to be loving the fact that Pujols is failing, not sure why they take so much joy in such an insignificant result in regards to their team? Hey, to each their own, when you dislike a player you want him to fail, and a lot of people want Pujols to fail just because of his enormous contract that makes the stomachs turn of most Americans. I’ve moved on from players getting over paid for what they do, that’s just how it is and its not going to change unless people stopped showing up completely to events.
Personally, I don’t mind if Pujols does well, he seems like a stand-up guy and does a lot for the communities he plays in.
I started looking at numbers for the other big signings in the offseason, and after looking at Prince Fielder’s numbers this year in the AL compared to last year in the NL I think Pujols might have a point. While Fielder’s numbers are nowhere as horrendous as Pujols’ numbers, they are still down.
Fielder’s batting average is 30 points lower, he has 12 less RBIs, 7 less extra base hits, 2 less homers, and five more strike outs through 27 games. His average is currently at .300, but has dipped as low as .284, which he never saw anything-below .330 last season during his first 27.
I’m not saying Fielder is having a bad season, but his numbers are down since moving to the AL, which adds merit to Pujols’ comments.
What adds greater merit is Adam Dunn last season. Dunn was mister consistent like Pujols in the NL, you would write in 38 homers and 100 RBIs without even thinking about it, and then he signed for big money with the White Sox and poof!
His first year was a disaster with 11 homers, 42 RBIs, and a .159 batting average, could this be right? For six straight years the man’s lows were 38 homers, 92 RBIs, and a .234 batting average. How could this happen?
Some stories were Dunn came in out of shape, but most players and scouts scoffed at this notion. Another story that came out during Waddle and Silvy’s Lunch with a Legend featuring Ozzie Guillen was that Dunn had lost his swing from the moment he stepped foot into Sox camp. Guillen shared a story that Greg Walker allegedly walked into his office the first day Dunn took swings and told Ozzie, “Have you seen Dunn, we have a problem.” Ozzie claimed to have brushed it off saying something like, “he’s a veteran he’ll be fine.” We know that was not the case, and I wondered how much truth there was to that story, I think Ozzie may have been trying to save face for the unemployed Walker.
Could it have been that Dunn was not use to AL pitching? Did it take him a year to adjust? He’s well on his way to crushing last year’s numbers; he has 9 homers and 23 RBIs already this season and seems to be heating up. His current projections are 52 homers and 133 RBIs, which we all know are bloated. I’m thinking 38/100 would be safe again this season.
Meanwhile, Fielder’s on pace for 24 homers and 78 RBIs, and what about Prince Albert? Are you sitting down? Pujols is on pace for six homers and 39 RBIs with a .196 batting average.
What do any of these projections mean? Absolutely nothing, they are just mathematical calculations for the sake of conversation and they are accurate about 25% of the time. Most veteran players up to around 34-35 years of age continue to make their numbers no matter how slow or how fast of a start they have.
In fact, Fielder had a start similar to his start in Detroit this season two years ago with Milwaukee before he went on to hit 32 homers, drive in 83 runs and walk a career high 114 times.
Pujols last season only had eight homers 58 games into the year before he went on a tear and ended the season with 37 homers and 99 RBIs, so beware impatient fantasy owners he could be starting his march to his average numbers.
When the season ends we’ll take a look back and see if Pujols and Fielder made their numbers, or if we will be penning another baseball expression aptly named, “The Donkey Effect.”