Dee Gordon hit the first home run of his career Tuesday. Gordon isn’t know for his power; he’s known for his speed. One day he’ll probably tag up from second and score on a pop-up to shortstop.
Dee Gordon has more homers this year than Albert Pujols.
Jose Tabata homered for the first time this year Tuesday. With nine career long balls in 812 at-bats, that’s about one home runs every 90 at-bats.
Jose Tabata has more homers this year than Albert Pujols.
Rafael Furcal went deep Tuesday for the initial time this season. He actually has more than 100 career home runs, maxing out at 15 in a single season twice, but he’s always been known as a speedy (and oft-injured) leadoff hitter.
Rafael Furcal has more homers this year than Albert Pujols.
Thus far, 252 players have hit at least one home run this season. Albert Pujols is not one of those players.
This is not a vengeful rambling of a Cardinals fan rejoicing in the pain of a former hero (though I am a Cardinals fan). No, this is an inquiry into when one of the great hitters in the game’s long history will start performing as we all expect him to.
Sure, the signs of decline have been evident the last few years, with Pujols’ triple-slash line steadily declining from .357/.462/.653 (1.114 OPS) in 2008 to .299/.366/.541 (906 OPS) in 2011. But last year’s OPS+ was still a healthy 148; it’s not like Pujols was Adam Dunn bad, where we weren’t sure he’d ever bounce back. He still had 37 home runs in 2011, an identical number to his 2008 total.
Knocking the ball over the fence has never been a problem for Pujols, who “bottomed out” in 2007 with a mere 32 long balls. But for some reason—the pressure of his new contract, moving to a new league, having to spend too much time in perfect SoCal weather—that first home run has yet to clear the fence.
Now, we all know it will come, and when it does, it’s likely Pujols will pull out of his funk and start shredding the ball as he typically does. But for now, it gives us a chance to speculate.
So, when will Pujols finally join the gaggle of players who have knocked a ball over the fence? Make your guess in the comments section, and we’ll see who comes closest to predicting the date Albert Pujols’ homerless drought died.
I’m going with Saturday, May 5, against Toronto’s Kyle Drabek (though tonight’s match-up against Liam Hendricks—WHO?—is enticing).