Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Here is when I start talking out of my ass about Albert Pujols it goes.

People will say that I'm just a stupid Cubs fan who is jealous and looking for any bullshit reason to start ripping on one of the best players in the game.

But, look, a lot of people have wondered about this.

Albert Pujols's body appears to be breaking down a bit.

And I'm not surprised.

And I'm not surprised it has most severely manifested itself in his back.

I have suspected Pujols has been using (or at the very least had used at one time) performance enhancing drugs.

Albert Pujols's rise to power occurred very quickly.  He spent only one year in the minor leagues after being drafted in 1999 in the 13th round.  He made his major league debut in 2001 and won rookie of the year.

The 13th round?  He was anything but a top prospect.  But I know as well as anyone that the baseball draft if more of a roll of the dice than anything.  I can accept that, I suppose.

His one season in the minor leagues was good...very good...moving from low-A ball all they way to AAA Memphis during that year.  He had a .920 OPS in that one season in the minor leagues.  He only played three games at Memphis, and his numbers hat high A Potomac were little more normal...most of his time that year was spent at low A Peoria where he put up most of the impressive numbers we see from that year.

Looking at his numbers at Peoria he hit a fair number of homers and drove in a lot of runs.

If you want to see the actual stats...go here.

Then 2001. I recall Tony LaRussa raving about the kid during spring training. And he made the team that year playing in 161 games.

He won Rookie of the Year, and was fourth in the MVP voting.

But the year was 2001.

I hate to tell you this...but that was right in the middle of the Sosa, McGwire, Bonds (and 634 others) sky rocketing offensive numbers era. If it wasn't for ultra-abuser Barry Bonds, Pujols probably would have had 6 MVPs by now. But if you look at it, Pujols, then, was the 2nd or 3rd best player during the 2001 - 2004 period.

Bonds admitted before a grand jury that he used steroids (knowingly or's still cheating). Alex Rodriguez has admitted that he as well used performance enhancers during that period. So the other player who was hitting as well as these players didn't use them? A player, who out of no where burst onto the scene to putting up numbers in his first big league season that he never put up before at the age of 21?

I'm sorry, I don't buy it. I didn't buy it then. And I won't buy it in the future.

Most of you know, I am not a physician.  Doc is a nickname that I first got when I was in junior high school.

But what I am is a good observer.

And now we get back to what we've found out yesterday...Albert Pujols has a more serious back problem than the Cardinals had first led us to believe.

My observations over the years is that many of these accused steroids users usually have their bodies break down after a while...and break down rather severely. And, the truth is, the break downs appear to start in the back. This is probably because these players, with the chemically enhanced bodies, put more torque on their backs while making swings, then the body was every designed to handle.

Other notable steroids users, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Juan Gonzalez...all had back problems that started hindering their ability to stay on the field.

Pujols is now in his 30s, and approaching the point where, in theory, his production should start to fall. But at the same time, Pujols's development curve as a major leaguer hasn't been very normal anyway. He hasn't gotten better as he's moved into the traditional "peak" age for a ball player. His numbers from age 21 to 29 have been relatively flat. They've been very good, but they've been flat. Could his slide come earlier?

Anyway, don't be surprised if this is the beginning of a slow downward slide for this player.

And, yes, I am jealous that the Cubs don't have him. But I treated Sammy Sosa very harshly when I truly suspected him of not playing by the rules. But I'm also aware of the list of players that have played for Tony LaRussa that have been accused and/or have admitted to using some form of PEDs.

I have suspected Cubs players of the same. (Look at my large rip of Geo Soto back in January.)

So I believe Pujols is a cheater. And I have expected the back problems, that he appears to currently have, would happen at some point.

And now I'm expecting he will not be the best player in baseball anymore.

I could be wrong, and I often am, but I haven't been about Pujols so far.