Pujols Injury and Appreciation

I was posting this for my fantasy baseball league last night and figured the blog readers might want to get the low down on the Pujols injury anyway. I did some research and asked Richie to help me understand it. I actually might interview Rich and ask about sports injuries then post that next week. He’ll have his doctorate in physical therapy or some stuff soon. Anyway, back to Pujols, here ya go.

Pujols has the torn ligament in his elbow (the UCL), which would require Tommy John surgery to fix. (Tommy John is UCL reconstruction by transferring a tendon from another part of the body). But the tear of the ligament has been there for awhile and hasn’t gotten much worse so they want to put that off as long as possible.

The real problem is the discomfort from the stuff around the UCL. It looks like bone spurs, maybe some floating cartilage, and it seems to be getting worse. To fix this they can go in for an arthroscopy, which is a minor surgery to clean out all the trash floatin around, and he would be back in a couple weeks or so. Why not do this? Maybe they don’t want to because it would just be a big band aid and still leave him with the torn ligament. Maybe they know Tommy John is coming soon enough and they will clean it all out during the reconstruction.

It looks like they are going with the third option. Just treat the symptoms. Keep the pain and swelling under control and have him gut his way through it. They will see if the ligament or spurs worsen to where they need to just blow it up, reconstruct the thing, and get him ready for ’09.

The guy played like a hall of famer as soon as he entered the majors. There was no development curve. He posted an OPS over 1000 as a rookie. Thats extremely extremely rare. Hes a lifetime .332 hitter. He is the best hitter we have ever seen outside of Bonds. Hes not a better fantasy player, but hes twice the pure hitter A-Rod is. In 2006 he missed 20 games, but still hit 49 HR. That year he K’ed only once more than he homered, 50 times. He slugged .671 and threw in a gold glove for good measure. (How about this secret stat, he stole 16 bases in 2005.)

I love the rare low strikeout power hitters. Pujols is unique in that his approach is more about line drives up the middle and gap power, but hes so strong that those balls can, and do, leave any part of the ballpark. Im focusing on 06 because it was his best year, but he hasn’t struck out 70 times since his rookie year.

2006 HR Leaders

Ryan Howard _____58 HR / 181 K
David Ortiz _______54 HR / 117 K
Albert Pujols ______49 HR / 50 K
Alfonso Soriano ____46 HR / 160 K
Lance Berkman ____45 HR / 106 K
Jermaine Dye _____44 HR / 118 K
Travis Hafner _____42 HR / 111 K
Jim Thome _______42 HR / 147 K
Carlos Beltran _____41 HR / 99 K
Andruw Jones _____41 HR / 127 K
Adam Dunn _______40 HR / 194 K

Aramis Ramirez, Sheff, Carlos Lee Vladdy are the only other guys who are able to come close in terms of power/low K’s. The thing with them is they are all, for the most part, free swingers. Pujols and Bonds are the only guys you’ll see who dont strikeout, pump bombs, and have extreme plate discipline. How do you get guys out when they do not chase bad pitches but also dont swing and miss at pitches in the zone?

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