Albert Pujols is the slowest player in MLB, and defenses are treating him like it

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters ever. Alas, he's having a miserable season -- and it might be getting worse by the day.

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.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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