What kind of year can Albert Pujols have?
By David Rice
Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters to ever wear a baseball uniform. He has climbed and continues to climb the career achievements list with rare air. Only legends have touched the stratosphere Pujols is currently in.
It is not beyond anyone though, how Albert Pujols has struggled the last several years. He hasn’t lived up to the $240 million dollar contract he signed in the winter of 2011 for the 2012 season. The numbers on the field that baseball fans had become accustomed to are no more. However, he still puts up serviceable numbers when healthy. Average numbers. Bryce Harper type numbers. When healthy has been the biggest factor for Pujols. He has ended his season early in 3 of his last 7 seasons with the Angels.
If Pujols can stay healthy, this can be one of the most successfully stealth seasons for him as an Angel. The reason being is he isn’t the most popular or even second most popular player on his team. Those honors belong to the richest and most skilled baseball player on the planet in Mike Trout. Second, is international two-way phenom and reigning Rookie of the Year, Shohei Ohtani. Third most popular may even be shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who is a wiz with the glove, seems to keep getting better with the bat. Either way, the attention isn’t on Pujols.
Pujols has had the attention the last several seasons because of his chasing major milestones. 600 home runs in 2017 and 3000 hits in 2018. This season, he will likely pass Lou Gehrig and Barry Bonds if he reaches 13 and 14 runs batted in. It would not be a surprise if he reached 98 RBIs and passed Cap Anson’s 2075 RBIs. Pujols currently sits at 1982 RBIs of his own. However, the attention most likely will not be focused in on him leading up to these. More of a high five, tip of the cap type acknowledgment.
Even if it does come up with much pomp and circumstance, it would likely come early in the season, with no real attention after passing Gehrig and Bonds.
With the attention elsewhere, besides him, Pujols may find himself with a very nice year and not a lot of distractions to go with it. Pujols has always handled the extra attention well, but being able to breathe a little deeper this season without all eyes, or microphones on him, may be just what he needs to regain some of the success of yore.