At age 31, Albert Pujols is nearing the end of what is usually the peak for a hitter in Major League Baseball. The best hitter in baseball, over the past decade, there is absolutely no reason to believe that there will be much drop off in the next 2-3 years. His contract situation, if it is not resolved before opening day, could serve as either a distraction or motivation in 2011. I don’t believe that he will hit the open market, but, I have to admit that is an interesting possibility.
So, what should fantasy owners expect from King Albert in 2011? Simply put, they should expect more of the same. The best hitter in baseball will have another year where he hits over 330 with 40 plus homers, around 120 rbi, over 100 runs and double digit steals. The outlook for Pujols, beyond next season, would likely see the steals slowly fade away. I would not expect to see many more years in which he has double digit steals. However, in the near future, that is likely the only weakness we will see in his game.
Pujols’ long term value, in keeper leagues, will remain very high for years to come. Over the last decade, he has kept himself in impeccable condition and this should help him to age very gracefully in his thirties. Aside from a slight scare with his elbow a few years ago, Pujols has avoided injuries remarkably well throughout his career. The Cardinals have managed him very well, with days off to stay refreshed during the dog days of summer. This is remarkably helpful for his fantasy owners. In his career, Pujols has averaged 156 games played per season and played over 150 games in 8 out of 10 years. It is pretty safe to say that his owners should feel very comfortable expecting him to play at least 150 games a year for the next few years.
2011 position rank-1
2011 overall rank-1
2011 Projections-339 avg, 44 hrs, 126 rbi, 11 sbs, 122 runs
Beyond next year, I think it is realistic to see Pujols give up the number one spot in fantasy baseball to Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki or Hanley Ramirez. However, unless he suffers an injury, I fully expect Pujols to remain in the top 5 for the next few years. He is the safest bet in fantasy baseball right now.