Friday, August 27, 2010

Pujols Hits 400th Home Run

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 400th career home run last night in an extra inning loss to the Washington Nationals.

I think baseball fans are a lot more excited about Pujols' hitting his 400th than they are about Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hitting his 600th earlier this month. First, Pujols is a devoted family man. Second, Pujols will live and die a Cardinal. Third, Pujols has never been linked to steroids. Fourth, Pujols doesn't behave like a first class jerk.

What I find interesting from a statistical perspective is the distribution of Pujols and A-Rod's homeruns. A-Rod has led the AL in home runs five times. Thrice he has hit more than 50 home runs in a season. But in two of those seasons, A-Rod is known to have taken steroids. Pujols, on the other hand, led the NL in home runs for the first time last season. As of this writing, Pujols is leading the NL in both home runs and RBIs. Like Hank Aaron, Pujols' home run output is more consistent than spectacular. Like Aaron, Pujols has never hit 50 home runs in a season (he did hit 49 in 2006, the year the Cardinals won the World Series).

Chances are A-Rod will eclipse both Aaron and Barry Bonds. But barring injury (Pujols does have a bad throwing elbow) Pujols will surpass A-Rod out of the park.

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