What is the big deal?
Why is Albert Pujols moving to the American League such a big deal to a Cincinnati Reds fan? He was one of the most dangerous hitters to ever face the team that is why.
Over his career playing for St. Louis Cardinals he hit 20 home runs in 266 at bats in Great American Ball Park. He has a .316 BA, .404 OBP and a .598 SLG in GABP. Of course he hit 20 or more home runs in other Central Division teams ball parks too but it took 20 or more games to do it. In Great American Ball Park he hit 20 in 68 games. Against Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field he hit 26 HR in 85 games. Against Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park he hit 24 in 91 games. Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park saw him hit 29 home runs in 89 games. The only park he did not hit 20 in was against Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park where he got 19 HR in 81 games. In his career against the Reds, Albert has hit 46 home runs in 172 games.
Now that the Machine is gone to the Angels there is another player that is on my radar this offseason and that is Prince Fielder. Of course Prince has not been around as long as Albert Pujols but having him out of the Central Division in 2012 will really help the Reds out big time.
Prince has also seen the ball very well in Great American Ball Park. In 52 games, 186 at bats he has hit 11 home runs getting a .323 BA, .422 OBP and .581 SLG. Against the Reds in his career Fielder has gotten 22 home runs in 102 games.
This of course shows just a part of the reason why I would like them both out of the National League Central but another big part is what these men do for their teams lineups on those days they are playing. Many players on their teams see a lot more pitches because of them in the game. I think Ryan Braun will not have such a great season in 2012 because of Fielder not batting in the same lineup. And of course the guys on the Cardinals will not be seeing as many good pitches as they used to when Albert was with them. These players will go on to hit well no matter what but they just won’t see the same pitches they once did when these two big boys were batting before or after them in the batting order. The Reds pitchers will have a chance to pitch a little better knowing that they don’t have to face these big bats every time they face that team.
No matter what the Reds front office does or doesn’t do this offseason having Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols go to different teams outside of the Central Division will be a huge factor in how well these teams do in the standings in 2012. Many people still believe St. Louis Cardinals will take the division and I have to disagree. There are way to many factors involved here that make their team completely different from the 2011 team. Their manager and first basemen are just two of those major factors. Will the Brewers really be able to take first without Prince? I highly doubt they will even with the guys they have they still will need that big bat to help out the rest of the lineup. Right now with what deals have been made this offseason, I give Pittsburgh Pirates a better chance of winning than St. Louis or Milwaukee. The Reds of course really need to have an injury free season for their main players in order to make a push for the division and Houston is gearing up for their move to the American League,
There is still a lot left in the offseason and some big moves can still be made to better each team but with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson off to the Angels and of course Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle going to Miami the teams in the National League Central Division are running low on options.