Originally Posted by MikeThierry
As far as Pujols goes, Puffy is right to bring up some of those issues but I think you also have to weigh what has happened to offense on a whole in the past five years. Offense, baseball wide, continues to decline and it begs the question, is Pujols declining or is it just pitching continuing to become a dominant factor in the game. This could be the first year in a long time where the NL leader in home runs doesn't achieve a 40 home run season. Granted, home runs are not the end all when discussing the decline in offense league wide but it certainly is a stat of note. Also, I think what you have to take into account is that Pujols had a horrible two months at the beginning of the season but since June, he has hit to about his norm. I don't think one down year (or two bad months) is an indication that a player is starting to decline.
Also, I think one factor in Pujols not walking as much is that there is a lot of protection behind him with Holliday and Berkman, which is something he hasn't had since the 04 season. Pitchers are pitching to him more this season rather than intentionally walking him or pitching around him than in other years. I also think that Pujols would thrive even more in a hitters park like GABP so even if he is "declining", adjusting for ballpark he might do well.
Firstly, I get it that offense has declined, but Pujols has gone from the very top every year in WAR to about 30th in the majors. That's a ranking stat, so decline in offense won't affect it.
Secondly, you would think that if pitchers are pitching to Pujols more, giving him better pitches to hit as they don't want to walk him, his walks would decline and his hitting would improve.
Instead, his walks are cut in half, and his hitting has also declined.
The first indication of a hitting decline is that pitchers are pitching to you more often. We saw it with Griffey, and when he couldn't produce more offensive when they pitched to him, it was very telling.
When you watch the Cards play these days, pitchers are pitching to Pujols and pitching around Berkman.