Albert Pujols is having a renaissance year with the St. Louis Cardinals, and statistics show just how much of a weapon the future Hall of Famer can be when he calls Busch Stadium home.
As Pujols chases career home run number 700, it’s easy to overlook the fact that he isn’t just hitting home runs this season, but he’s also putting together his best offensive season since … well, 2011 since he was last with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Entering Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, the 42-year-old Pujols is slashing .266/.338/.528 overall and his .866 OPS is the best he has posted since finishing the 2011 campaign with a .906 OPS. The statistical rebirth can be seen even more when looking at Pujols’ wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus, which you can learn about here) on FanGraphs.
This is hilarious. Albert Pujols has a 141 wRC+ as a Cardinal this year, his worst wRC+ ever as a Cardinal. It’s also better than any NON-Cardinal season he had. pic.twitter.com/g5ScfUkRdi
— John LaRue (@tdylf) September 12, 2022
Statistics show some fascinating trends for Albert Pujols, in and out of a St. Louis Cardinals uniform
What you see above is correct. His best wRC+ outside of his days in St. Louis came in 2012, the first season he played for the Los Angeles Angels, when he logged a 133 wRC+. From the 2017 season through the 2021 campaign (where he played for both the Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers), Pujols never pushed that number back above 100, with a wRC+ of 90 in 2019 being the high mark during that stretch.
The numbers also show just how good Pujols was early in his career in St. Louis as he earned three National League MVP honors, including in 2008 when his wRC+ hit a personal high of 184.
With a 100 wRC+ being considered as “league average,” perhaps it’s easy to see why the Angels released Pujols early in the 2021 campaign and the Dodgers didn’t resign him finishing the season with them. However, Pujols has once again found his stride in a St. Louis uniform, showing that there must be something magical in the air in the Gateway City.