Albert Pujols is the slowest player in MLB, and defenses are treating him like it
The Astros showed Pujols and his wheels no respect
Pujols is batting .247/.291/.397 -- marks good for an 84 OPS+. His 96 runs batted in are the only thing saving him from being regarded as a lost cause by analytical and old school fans alike. Even then, there's reason to believe he's authoring the worst 100-RBI season of all time. Ouch.
But the greatest indignity of Pujols' season might've come on Thursday night, when the Houston Astros aligned their defense like so during his at-bats:
That's an extreme overshift -- nothing, too unusual … except the infielders are playing way, way, way back. How far back? Shortstop Carlos Correa was stationed roughly 200 feet away at the beginning of a Pujols groundout:
The Astros showed no respect or regard for Pujols' wheels -- and why would they? Statcast tracks this metric called Sprint Speed that is an attempt to capture the fastest and slowest players. Pujols ranks 444th in baseball -- that's out of 444 players. Pujols is literally the slowest player in the majors, to the extent that it's unclear if a well-placed bunt would allow him to reach first base before the pitcher or catcher could make a play on the ball.
Pujols has had a great career. He's worth remembering as one of the best to ever do it. But these are ugly, ugly times.
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