Angels Round Table Discussion: Around The Halo
Can Albert Pujols still produce at this stage of his career?
Rice: I still think the “Machine” can produce. I think he will have another strong year at the plate in regards to home runs and RBI’s and the batting should come back up to the .270 range.
Cardone: Yes. The vintage 1.100+ OPS Albert of old is gone, but his 2015 performance is evidence that he still has some gas left in the tank. His age-35 season saw him slug 40 home runs and remain a force batting behind Trout. As long as he stays relatively healthy, he’ll produce.
Lea: Sure, he had 40 homeruns last season. But, injuries and a lengthy career have taken it’s toll on him. I think he’s got maybe 2-3 years left as a slugger. After which, he’ll likely take a back seat and become a DH no matter how much he opposes the idea.
Quesada: Absolutely. The machine just replaced a faulty body part (his leg and no, not literally) meaning he will be healthy whenever he is able to return to the team and, more importantly, his mindset is in the right place. It’s at this stage in the career that we hear athletes say that their body just isn’t with them anymore, or their body just can’t handle it. Pujols has instead insisted that if he’s on the field he knows he can perform and he will have confidence knowing that last year he hit 40 round-trippers for the first time since 2010. If he feels he can produce, I have no reason not to believe him.
Avise: I don’t think Albert produces power numbers like he did last season hitting 40 bombs and driving in 95. However, I’d love nothing more than for him to prove me wrong. I do believe the Angels are better defensively with Pujols at first but I think he is more valuable to the team with his bat at DH. C.J. Cron his good enough at first for me.
Ludwig: That depends on how you define “produce”. The Machine hit 40 homers and drove in 95 runs last season, which, on their face, are good numbers. But his batting average plummeted to .244 and his OBP did the same, coming in at a paltry .307. Ultimately, he was worth only 6 runs above a league average player. There are also questions surrounding his health, as he underwent offseason foot surgery, and he’s another year older, at age 36. Baseball Reference projects him to hit .252/.312/.457 with 28 homers and 84 RBIs. He’ll be a slightly above average player, but counting on him to put up All-Star numbers is out of the question.
Next: Areas of concern