2009 Cardinals Player Grades: First Base (Josh)

by on October 23, 2009 · 2 comments

Today’s post took much longer than I planned for two reasons. The first is related to the Cardinals but the second, is well, not even close. For those that know me, my love for movies is nearly on par with that of a certain St. Louis sports team. We are going to keep this rolling along, but the movie references will be staying.

Instead of writing up my review of Albert Pujols yesterday, my fiance and I took in a matinee. She is a big fan of horror movies, and there just happens to be a nice selection of choices playing. Before I say anything else, please don’t take just my opinion when deciding if you should go and watch a flick. But given the price of seeing anything on the big screen, I feel it is my duty to share important details with our loyal readers.

Paranormal Activity, with a link for anyone who has not heard of it, should be playing in your city by now. It was done in the ‘Blair Witch’ style and could have really hit the mark as an underground classic. I will say that both of us slept just fine last night and won’t be getting the DVD due to being very disappointed (think being a fan of the Rams). Whatever you may read before deciding to go, it is worth your hard-earned money to do plenty of homework about it first.

With that interruption aside, the week of Albert could not end without dishing out top honors to the best in the business. The MJ of baseball as I said Wednesday night, Pujols plays with his own brand of flash that doesn’t always rub everyone the same way. Whether it is watching his mammoth home runs or ranging farther away from the bag on defense, the St. Louis first baseman does things no one else in baseball can even think of matching. Love him or hate him, AP scores an A across the board in all categories.

Hitting– Um, numbers don’t lie and the Cardinals must do whatever possible to lock up the MVP for the remainder of his HOF career. Pujols is starting to enter the discussion of greatest right-hand hitter ever and being healthy can only help the cause. Now I see why the player and the team didn’t give away anything in September even as the numbers were declining. St. Louis wanted the advantage come playoff time, but Joe Torre was leaving nothing to chance. Albert at even 80% scares the daylights out of opposing managers and for good reason as he notched an A+ from the batters’ box. Here’s for keeping El Hombre right around 95-99 for 2010 and away from any home run contests.

Defense– All the crazy talk about moving the Gold Glove winner away from first base just go to show that even the best is not enough for some people. Pujols offered to man 3B in the spring but was politely told that others would take over for Glaus. I mean, how else do you say no to No. 5? The 2009 campaign did see a drop in some stats while another record was achieved, making it a push and an A- in my book. Albert had to carry the load offensively and probably felt the pressure to do the same in the field while looking at the likes of Joe Thurston and Khalil Greene across the diamond. He did lead the team in errors with 13, but a confident DP combo of Ryan and Schu to finish the year also netted Pujols the assists record and momentum heading into next season.

Conclusion– Much like the Blues play second fiddle to the Cards in St. Louis, trying to find a back-up to Albert was nearly impossible. In theory De Rosa could have played more at 1B until I saw that no one was given an opportunity because somebody was hogging all the time over there. Pujols started all but five games at first, and his increased base running aptitude meant that he was a weapon on all phases of the game. He scores an A for tying his career high with 16 steals but it was an injury to another player that leads me to believe in the 160 games logged in 2009.

Joe Mather couldn’t have asked for more in Spring Training. TLR had changed his number (7) and had all but awarded the starting job at third to the late bloomer. Then a 1-28 slump took the wind out of his sails, and not even a late charge in March allowed Mather to break camp with St. Louis. After struggling through April in Memphis, two surgeries followed to repair his left wrist and the season ended at AA Springfield. I still feel he can be a nice addition to the major league squad, and that will be just one of many story lines to watch down in Jupiter. Overall, Pujols gives the team an A for 2009 with thoughts to who backs up the star yet to come.

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Loyal to a fault, I was taught to never give up on your team. The Cardinals have much to look forward to in '13, and my family has already planned a number of trips to Springfield and even farther up the I-44. This year will start and end with #6, however, as St. Louis will have an extra fan watching from above - RIP Stan the Man
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{ 2 comments }

VicLady November 2, 2009

And I just heard that AP won the Hank Aaron award. I’m happy to hear that.

PH8 November 2, 2009

With any sort of justice in this world, it won’t be the last hardware AP brings home this off-season.

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