Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels in December, and in spring training, he was fantastic. He was Albert Pujols, basically. Since spring training, Albert Pujols has played in 35 games that mattered, batting 149 times. Over those 149 trips to the plate, he's hit .197 with a .510 OPS. You know the story by now - it's a catastrophe. Nobody really knows what's going on, and if you ask Pujols nothing is going on, but this has gone on long enough that we can't just dismiss it as noise.
At our own Lone Star Ball, the author takes a look at the worst 35-game stretches Pujols has ever had in his career. We have a pretty good understanding that Pujols has never before been this bad for this long. What is the most bad he has been for this long?
In his career, he's had 9 seasons where he never had a single 35 game stretch with an OPS below .800 and in 2003 his lowest OPS over one of these periods was .995(!). His only two below .700 have come in the last two seasons, with 2012 as the runaway winner in terms of being terrible. His .510 OPS is 162 points than his next worse and 265 points lower than his next worse after that.
What really astounds me is how low his OBP is during his current season compared to all previous years. In 933 samples, only twice was his OBP below .333, his current .235 and a runner up in 2011 at .322. These same two awful periods are his only two with an AVG below .250 in his career, a .248 in 2011 that's 51 points higher than his current .197.
From a power outage standpoint, his current .077 ISO isn't his career worst. In 2011 he had an .075 that was slightly worse, and 2011 was filled with several stretches of overlapping periods with very poor ISOs. Outside of 2012, 2011, 2010 and a few rough patches in 2007, he's never had any periods with an ISO below .195.
Click through for all of the data. Has Albert Pujols ever been this bad for this long? No. Has Albert Pujols ever been close to this bad for this long? No. Does that mean he's completely bollocksed going forward? No. Does it mean we have every reason to worry about Albert Pujols going forward? Yes. Maybe not every reason. But lots of reasons, at least.