Did you know that Albert Pujols has been terrible so far with the Angels? Of course you did, it's all anybody wants to talk about because what on earth is going on with Albert Pujols? It would be one thing for Albert Pujols to show signs of decline. We expect Albert Pujols to show signs of decline because he is up there in years. It's quite another for Albert Pujols to look like one of the worst players in baseball. Just last year he was terrific. The year before he was amazing. According to FanGraphs' WAR, since 2009 Pujols has dropped from 9.0 to 7.5 to 5.1 to -1.0. I am very familiar with the issues with WAR but I also know that conveys the proper idea.
Pujols, sports, terrible. A little while ago we shared a Joe Posnanski article on the subject of Pujols' swing. Here we share a Chris O'Leary article on the subject of Pujols' swing. This one is a wee bit more analytical, complete with nifty .gifs. An excerpt:
I've spent a bit more time looking at Albert Pujols' swing and looking for differences between his 2011 swing and his 2012 swing. As part of that effort, I put the clip below together.
I continue to see few significant differences between the two swings, with the exception of the back legs and the back feet.
The thing to compare is the stability of Albert Pujols' back leg, and his back foot in particular.
In the 2011 clip, Albert Pujols' back leg and back foot are rock steady. In contrast, in the 2012 clip, Albert Pujols' back leg is unsteady and his back foot skids around underneath him as his hips start to rotate.
In my opinion that difference, while small, is potentially significant because, in my experience, an unsteady back foot is often associated with power deficits and swings that are less efficient than than they could be.
Click through for the .gifs and the rest. I can't tell you whether O'Leary is absolutely correct in his analysis, but he presents a convincing case, or I am just easily convinced. Or both. It stands to reason that something is off, right? 2011 Albert Pujols doesn't just turn into 2012 Albert Pujols without a trigger. If he does, then ... well I'm not really prepared to deal with the implications.