Tag Archives: Albert Pujols

Angels Survive 19 inning Marathon with Red Sox

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[Box Score]

[Boston Globe] [OC Register]

This was a WILD one. I had the game on for much of it, and once again the Angels’ magical season rolls on through an improbable event. It was Albert Pujols’ 19th inning home run – the 514th of his illustrious career – that kept this game from running into some Sunday morning church services.

By the end of the game, Pujols had played five innings at his old position third base. Matt Shoemaker had thrown three scoreless innings as the final arm out of the Angels pen.

Mike Trout hit a solo home run in the 8th inning, his 25th of the season and first as a 23-year old player off Clay Buchholz; who was actually throwing a pretty good game. They were just getting started at that point.

Of course I dozed off somewhere in the 16th or 17th inning, at 2:30 AM ET, a time when no normal human should still be up to see how a ballgame concludes.

This was one of the better games of the season and an incredible effort by the Angels.

The Angels turned around today and lost 3-1 in the series finale. Their only run coming on Mike Trout’s 26th home run of the season. These teams were dog tired, and today would have been a great under bet with your local book. Of course, we were out baby crib shopping all day; so we didn’t capitalize.

Albert Pujols Mocks Yasiel Puig

The Freeway Series between the Angels and the Dodgers kicked off last night in Chavez Ravine. A solid pitching matchup between Zack Greinke and Garrett Richards was on the docket, burgeoning superstars in Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig were in each team’s respective lineup and two teams with a couple of the better records in baseball settling in for regional supremacy.
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A Double-Dip of Trout

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Mike Trout hit home run number 19 in game one.

There is almost nothing better than when you get a doubleheader of a team you really want to watch. The Angels and White Sox were rained out last night and baseball did everyone a solid by starting game one at 5:05 ET, with game two getting underway at 8:40 ET, basically right now.

It was one of those weird things where you aren’t sure why these teams didn’t play in the afternoon for game one and then at night for game two, with plenty of rest in between. But we’re not complaining, it’s 18 innings of Mike Trout and the surging Angels. Trout didn’t disappoint, getting Anaheim off and running with a three-run home run that tied the game at three after Jose Abreu hit his 26th. Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols added their own solo shots, and Garrett Richards improved to 9-2, going eight innings and striking out nine.

I would say more, but the Angels hot bats have a date with Scott Carroll. Shit could get out of hand. There’s nothing better than a full day of baseball in a city like Chicago with the holiday weekend looming. Life is good.

UPDATE (Wednesday): Video of the Trout homer, and box scores from game one and game two. The Angels swept the doubleheader, and enter play today at 47-35.

Albert Pujols 500th Home Run

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[Box Score]

Any time someone joins the 500 home run club, it’s a historic event in baseball. It just has to make the blog. And tonight, Albert Pujols became the 26th member of the club with a tape-measure shot in Washington, off poor Taylor Jordan, soon to be DFA’d pitcher.

We were watching live. Well, almost. MLB.tv had it’s usual lag going. But we’ve already covered that.

Pujols has withstood the test of time, and he deserves his place among the all-time greats who have played this game. It just seems like he has been doing what he did tonight for a long, long time when we think back on our life and first heard about The Great Pujols hitting a couple gargantuan shots in a game.

He’s had his trials too – and if you’ve had a look at him lately it appears that he has fought off Father Time for just a while longer. And for that, good for Albert.

Jack Clark is a stone-faced Liar

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Remember back last October, when Jack Clark (Cardinals radio on-air personality) said that Albert Pujols was a juice-head and challenged him to a lie-detector test? He “knew for a fact” that Pujols used PEDs?

Well today, Jack Clark magically backtracked from those comments.

“I would like to address Albert Pujols’ pending defamation lawsuit and re-confirm that I have no knowledge whatsoever that Mr. Pujols has ever used illegal or banned PEDs. I publicly retract my statements that Albert Pujols used such substances. During a heated discussion on air, I misspoke and for that I sincerely apologize.”

Ok then.

Something went down. Whether it was Clark and Pujols having a chance to talk behind the things and settle their differences (Pujols could buy and sell Jack Clark 40 times over, Clark is a fired radio guy from an era where ballplayers didn’t make big time cheddar) or Pujols simply said he won’t sue Clark if Clark publicly retracts the statements.

Still, it’s odd that a guy would be so willing to smash his own credibility like this. It’s obvious Clark’s radio career is probably a written history. And if we had to bet, Clark probably wasn’t 100% lying. Someday, Albert Pujols will probably have someone come forth with more evidence than just their word about his usage. Call it a gut feeling.

Scout: “Albert Pujols’ Legs are Done”

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Anytime we can get quotes from anonymous scouts on the blog, we make sure to do it.

Today, they’re talking about the lower-half of Albert Pujols. As much as I love to read random quotes from a scout about any player, you take it with a grain of salt because:

a. Scouts refuse to attach their name to the quote, always

b. A lot of times, scouts don’t know shit. They’ve always got a strong opinion on something that makes for a good story or interesting read, but a lot of the time it’s worthless opinion. For instance, there were plenty of scouts who said Mike Trout would never develop power or that Bryce Harper was a “bad kid”.

Here’s the quote on Pujols courtesy of the NY Daily News Baseball Insider blog:

He’s got bad wheels,” said one American League evaluator who has seen Pujols many times this year, both in spring training and the regular season. “I bet he doesn’t play more than 50 games at first this year.”

The article goes on to talk about Ryan Howard a little bit and how another anonymous scout says that ‘every time he sees Howard run, he thinks that ankle is going to snap again’. Pleasant.

I can just imagine an old piece of bacon grissel scout sitting there, spitting his dip into his coffee cup in the stands saying that. It’s the most scouty quote there ever was.

The Angels better hope that Pujols’ legs hold up, because he’s still on the books for $228 million dollars.

The Watch Report: Cincinnati Reds Opening Day

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Who had Chris Iannetta in the Opening Day hero pool?

[Angels 3, Reds 1]

This was actually my first Opening Day that I haven’t been in the stands in Cincinnati since Joe Randa and Adam Dunn went back to back to walk off the Mets back in 2005. That’s a lot of Opening Days that I strung together. I doubt I ever make it back to that many consecutive Opening Days. I’m satisfied with the streak I put together. I’ve seen some unbelievable openers in the Queen City. From Randa’s walk-off, to Ramon Hernandez’s walk-off grand slam, to last year’s Cueto masterpiece with Bruce’s moonshot to seal it shut.

Here’s some notes from today’s ballgame, which was a long one.

  • The Reds really didn’t hit all spring long, and they didn’t hit today. Jay Bruce wore a golden sombrero in the middle of the order. Joey Votto went 0 for 4 but at least drew a few walks.
  • Shin-Soo Choo had two hits and Todd Frazier had one. And that’s all the Reds offense tallied. There weren’t even any hard hit balls.
  • Of the Angels fearsome three, Mike Trout was the only one with a hit. Trout went 1 for 6, Pujols and Hamilton went 0 for 4.
  • Chris Iannetta was the hero in this one, hitting a solo home run and doubling in the top of the 13th inning with two outs off J.J. Hoover.
  • The Angels pen just earned this game, though I would give it to the lack of Reds hitting. After Jered Weaver exited, six Angels relievers combined for seven scoreless innings. Ernesto Frieri was the final one and he earned the save.
  • I’m not too upset with this game. The Angels are a World Series contender, and the Reds are going to hit at some point. It hurts that they’ll miss Ryan Ludwick for the better part of a month with separated shoulder.
  • How could I forget Johnny Cueto. I feel like for the last year and a half, if you’ve seen Cueto throw once you’ve seen the same solid, dependable game. I love the effort this guy always brings to the mound with him.

Here’s some running total stats from today’s game, and from my most recent watched game:

Home Runs: 1 (Chris Iannetta 1)
Strikeouts: 30
Runs: 4
Hits: 9
Errors: 4
Stolen bases: none
Official time watching baseball: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 2
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): one half

EDIT: I watched about two innings out of the Rockies Brewers game today, I watched Chris Sale’s entire start on and off, and I watched about five innings out of the Phillies-Braves game today. I’m not going to count it, because my totals aren’t exact. And I’m honestly ready to abandon the 2000-Inning Quest after just a night and a day. It’s too damn tedious. But still I press onward to go where no idiot has ever gone before.

STATS during the 2000-Inning Quest:

Home Runs: 4
Bryce Harper home runs: 2
Strikeouts: 59
Runs: 16
Hits: 31
Errors: 5
Stolen bases: NONE
Official time watching baseball: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 6
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): .5
Innings left to go: 1,969

The Baseball Show: All Bryce Harper, All the Time

On this edition of The Baseball Show, I’m joined again by co-hosts Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report’s Prospect Pipeline and The Golden Sombrero and M.J. Lloyd (who was live from the French quarter) of Halo Hangout and Off-Base Percentage.

Topics discussed included but were not limited to the following:

-Jered Weaver’s no-hitter, and M.J.’s Nostradamus prediction of it.
-How long will Albert Pujols struggle?
-Bryce Harper’s debut week
-Do prospects like Gordon Beckham, Travis Snider, and Brandon Belt need a change of scenery to succeed?
-Mike & I talk about my first trip to Wrigley Field and him growing up in Chicago
-Unsung heroes for the White Sox and Reds thus far

As always we laugh, we cry, and we cover a lot more. We didn’t really cry, either. Well M.J. did a little bit when Pujols rolled over into another 6-4-3 against the Jays last night but you won’t be able to tell.

Steve Berthiaume: “Cincinnati Reds tried for Albert Pujols.”

I’m going to have to credit a Cardinals blog with the assist on this one.

Last week on the Jonah Keri podcast, ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume (whom we love) was the guest. He spoke about the Cincinnati Reds coming thisclose to acquiring former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols:

“I think, think they (the Reds) were a lot closer to getting Albert Pujols than anybody knows or anybody talked about. I think the Votto money was targeted for Pujols in the off-season and when that didn’t pan out that they said, OK, let’s keep our guy, let’s give it to Joey Votto. I think those two were more connected than anyone realizes.”

Alright, before you start with the ‘I don’t buy it’ business, remember that Berthiaume is way more connected than you or even I. I do buy it.

Look at the money the Reds gave Votto. I think there were rumblings in the Reds front office about going after Pujols. And I think that Walt Jocketty used Pujols as a way of convincing Bob Castellini that the Reds could write a contract like this up to begin with.

When the Reds missed the mark of how much Pujols wanted, those numbers still worked for the guy already under contract and all the Reds needed to do was change the name written on the deal. A right handed hitter like Pujols helps the Reds more than Votto does.

Your Opening Day 2012 Post

I read an article in the New York Times the other day that should be required reading of any close friend of mine. Maybe that’s because basically all of my close friends like baseball or it’s at the very least been what has sewn us together in the first place. The article was called ‘What Baseball Does to the Soul’.

A couple of things I like from this article I’m requiring you to read if you already haven’t on Opening Day Eve:

  1. This is what baseball can do to the soul: it has the ability to make you believe in spite of all other available evidence.
  2. Baseball does what all good sports should do: it creates the possibility of joy.
  3. It confirms that life is not static. There is so much more left to be lived.

That’s really just a few of the reasons that it’s a great read, and why Opening Day is a celebration of hope. And changing seasons. And new beginnings.

I say it every year in this annual post: we could truly see anything tomorrow. We could see anything this season. That’s what makes tomorrow and the next several months to follow so special. Let your mind dream for a minute on what might be in store for this 2012 season.

We could see Jay Bruce win the National League HR title. We could see Jay Bruce become the MVP. How many bombs is Giancarlo Stanton going to hit? Will Adam Dunn rebound to be the Adam Dunn we all grew up watching? Are the Anaheim Angels going to roll to the World Series Miami Heat style? How’s Pujols going to adjust to American League pitching?

This will also be the year that we get acquainted with Bryce Harper for the first time–and we’ll get to know Mike Trout a lot better perhaps. Your fantasy teams are looking pretty solid right now, and every day is your chance at redemption for last year’s poor showings amongst your peers.

How many knocks will Joey Votto get towards earning that new big contract? How will Prince and Miggy fare together in Motown? Cubs fans have hope until the games are played tomorrow. The bad news is so do the Twins, Astros, and Orioles as well. Everyone’s in first place again.

The spring will quickly fade into summer and the seasons will change, and soon we’ll be doing this exercise all over again. Baseball will still be there for us, going on; happening. No clock involved. When we’re at the park, time will stand still for just a few hours after walking through the turnstiles before we have to walk opposite way out of those same entry points and return to reality.

It’s the greatest sport on earth, and it’s begun again. It’s time to savor the moment and enjoy it. As you take it all in tomorrow, baseball is good for the soul because the possibilities are unlimited and it allows you to dream where most other things in life do not. And remember on Opening Day, you might just see anything.

Diamond Hoggers salutes you, the fan; on Opening Day 2012. Follow Diamond Hoggers on Twitter live from Opening Day in Cincinnati for the 8th straight year.

10 Bold Predictions for 2012: The Cincinnati Reds make the NLCS

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2012 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fifth installment of this prediction series is that the Cincinnati Reds are one of two NLCS representatives in 2012.

There’s people out there that won’t want to believe me–but my wife will serve as my witness on this (she would NEVER lie for me). I have been talking about the 2012 Cincinnati Reds making a possible World Series run for several years now.

The night my wife will remember me saying it was when the outs were starting to melt away in that NLDS game three versus the Phillies back in 2010. As I sat there in the last row of the stadium with her, I said “we’re really going to get swept. It’s really going to end like this”. I was right. The Reds got shutout by Cole Hamels on a night when he had his best stuff. But I made a prediction I have felt so strongly about for so long.

“Mark my words, this team will be back. They’ll miss out on the playoffs in 2011 and then they’re going to come roaring back and go after the whole thing in 2012. That’s been the year all along: 2012″.

Now, because she’s a woman and things like that aren’t important to her she wouldn’t be able to recite my exact prediction. But she can attest to the fact that her husband has never felt more strongly about something happening in sports than the Cincinnati Reds impending 2012 run to the World Series. This is because I’ve also reminded her countless times over the last year.

And I’ve hedged my prediction some. I don’t think they’re going to the World Series. Our season predictions won’t go up until next week on this site but I still don’t fully know who this mystery opponent who will knock off the Reds in the 2012 NLCS will even be yet. But someone’s knocking them off. All I know is they’re going to get that far, and they’re not going to make the World Series. And I feel like it’s going to be in six games that the NLCS lasts. Just enough so that you have some hopes and dreams of the Reds really playing for the whole thing. But they’re going to fall tragically short like all of our heroes eventually do. And that’s because they’re my team. That’s why they’re not going to the World Series. But mark my words, before this thing gets completely blown up and the Reds nucleus as you know it is disbanded, they’re going to take you on a ride that you haven’t been on in a long, long time.

I love the make up of this roster. I think there are any number of players who could go from respectable Major League professionals to star pretty easily because they have the pedigree and I think they’ve got the ability to truly be more than solid. Many of these guys moved up through the minor league system together and have grown up as ballplayers together. The chemistry in this organization with this group of players is not overstated as it so often is around baseball. These guys like each-other and have a strong clubhouse. They’ve also all reached that ‘peak ‘and ‘prime’ age around the same time. When you get several guys who have career years together you see teams come out of nowhere and take off.

Last year was absolutely painful for my heart and huge hit to my mental health at times. Just writing on this blog each day was a challenge because I was lamenting the fact it was baseball season as the Reds floundered their way through 162. Sometimes in baseball that just happens. And sometimes in life things happen for a reason that you never come to understand. And the reason the Reds of 2011 were so bad was so that they could fly under the radar in 2012. The baseball Gods made me purge my joys last season so that it could be a summer long party in 2012.

Aside from the Reds being able to once again sneak up on some teams quietly–something they lacked the ability to do from game one in 2011–it’s been the perfect storm off-season with some of the things that have happened. Let’s examine some of the things that have taken place that are going to allow the Reds to make a run in 2012:

  1. Reds trade for Matt Latos. Alright, he’s not an ace in my opinion yet. But it’s another lottery ticket thrown in the raffle of guys who could be aces for the Reds. And I still see Cueto, Bailey, and now Latos as guys who could have that type of ‘stopper’ season for the Reds. Give me the ball on day five and let me go get you a ballgame and end this slide or keep this streak going.
  2. Albert Pujols leaves the Cardinals for the Angels. Why don’t you do me a favor, look up what Albert Pujols did against the Reds over his career (Actually, let me do that for you. 172 GP, .350, 46 HR, 143 RBI, 10 steals/zero caught stealing, 92 BB, 50 K’s, .430/.641/1.072). Look, I’ll miss seeing the guy’s pure talent a few times a summer, but let’s get serious I can do without him making me miserable in the form of game winning grand slams and such. AL West foes, you enjoy that.
  3. Prince Fielder signs with the Detroit Tigers. Maybe the second greatest offensive lethal weapon in the National League, and he’s leaving the NL Central too! Now this is just gravy. People forget he’ll just be 28 years old this season, he is in his prime years and he will still torture pitching staffs for about 4 or 5 more seasons before he’s ‘getting old’ or no matter how big that spare tire gets.
  4. Ryan Braun is suspended for PED use for 40 games. Yea. Shit. Damn you formality. This would have been the nail in the Brewers coffin, trust me. They lucked out here.
  5. Chris Carpenter is out 3 to 4 months with a bulging disk. Chris Carpenter scares me. He’s fiery, he eats innings, you can hang a few runs on him in the first inning of a game and then he one hits you the rest of the way. He’s the type of catalyst ace that few guys around the big leagues truly are. This is a huge void for the Cardinals. And I found out they’re going to Opening Day start Kyle Lohse. A man doesn’t deserve such a life of luxury folks. I am that man.
  6. Adam Wainwright returns from Tommy-John surgery.People want to talk about Wainwright being the sleeper of the year. Look, he’s good and I have no doubts he’ll return to his previous levels of performance. But give me one guy who came back and was his dominant old self his first half season back from Tommy-John surgery. There aren’t any. Reds luck out again here. I’m still warm and fuzzy inside with memories of that February day last year.
  7. Theo Epstein got his hands on the Cubs a bit too late. Theo will turn the Cubbies around but it’s going to take time. Are they still employing the likes of Ryan Dempster and Alfonso Soriano? Bryan LaHair at first base? It’s going to be a fun season of making fun of Cubs fans again.
  8. The Phillies are a mess. I expect a regression from Cliff Lee. Roy Halladay has been nothing if not touch and go this spring. Jimmy Rollins is getting old. Chase Utley is hurt. Ryan Howard is hurt. The Phillies do not scare me. Not in the slightest.
  9. The Reds sign Sean Marshall. This guy is like the nastiest lefty in baseball. He’s not gonna crap out like Ricky Rincon did when the Indians went out and tried to make a splash in getting a nasty lefty to bolster a great pen. He’s going to get first dibs on the closer role, and I think he’s going to have a fine audition.

I could keep going, but these are all things that have made it a wonderful off-season towards building my case for the Reds run to the 2012 NLCS.

We led off the prediction series by telling you that Jay Bruce was going to be the 2012 MVP. But now for some of the unheralded guys who will pay off huge for the Redlegs in 2012. Chris Heisey, Homer Bailey, Ryan Ludwick, and the rebound of guys like Scott Rolen and Drew Stubbs will pay off for the Reds. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto will play their usual role.

You look in the pen and the Reds have some serious firepower. Jose Arredondo is a year into his own Tommy-John recovery, and the Reds have Bill Bray, Nick Masset, Aroldis Chapman, Marshall, and some other very capable arms that will be down in that bullpen. They’re deep. Especially if Ryan Madson hadn’t gotten hurt. But we’re here to focus on why this prediction will come true.

The Reds are about to give you the finest season since 1990, if you can just make it until October. This is going to be the year and I want you to remember where you heard it. Just don’t expect too much ultimately. I’ll sign up for an NLCS run and take my chances from there right now.

10 Bold Predictions for 2012: The Anaheim Angels Win the World Series

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2012 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fourth prediction deals with who we see bringing home the World Series Title in 2012, the Anaheim Angels.

Some folks reading this post will be quick to jump at us and say that this is hardly a bold prediction. However, a deeper look would reveal that simply trying to predict who emerges out of the scuttlebutt of a 162 game season and three playoff series is no easy thing.

The Anaheim Angels are baseball’s closest version of the Miami Heat. They’re loaded. But even the Heat weren’t able to get the chemistry just right to get through the postseason and emerge as the NBA’s best in their first season of assembly.

The Angels will hardly be a lock. They’re predicted at an over/under of 89.5 wins heading into the season which is trailing the Yankees (93), Detroit (94), and Texas (94) in their own division. As a side prediction, its easy money that they get over 90 wins. Take that bet and run with it.

The 2011 version of the Angels brought home 86 wins last season, their Pythagorean W/L record was 85-77; meaning that their resulted play was right around where it should have been (they weren’t particularly lucky or unlucky). So you’re telling me that adding Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, LaTroy Hawkins, Chris Ianetta, and the return of a healthy Kendrys Morales will only be worth about three wins to last year’s total? Come on now.

But this bold prediction is not about the Angels 2012 win total, it’s about them being the only postseason team to win their final game in October.

The rotation is a beautiful thing, and being able to run out Jered Weaver, Wilson, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana on most nights will serve them well and keep them out of a lot of prolonged losing streaks. We particularly like being able to trot Santana out against most team’s fourth starters. In a postseason series, a deep pitching staff is what will push them past other teams we like such as Texas and Detroit.

They’ve got the offensive firepower in the lineup if they remain healthy to rattle the walls of any park. The mix of youth combined with veteran presence is very solid on this team up and down the lineup and they’ll have versatility to get creative at several spots. They still have one of the best managers in the game in Mike Scioscia.

It’s not easy to find a weakness. We perceive their only possible weakness to be defensively, which should remain around league average and won’t be enough to hold them down.

When the dust settles on the 2012 season, the cream will have risen to the top. And the Angels will be the sole survivor of the regular and postseason. The 2012 World Champions will be the Anaheim Angels. You can book it and lock it right now.

Arte Moreno belongs in some type of Scarface Sequel (GQ Interviews Moreno)

Arte Moreno has enough money to buy you, make you dance a jig for his amusement, sell you for thirty cents on the dollar, buy you back, have you killed, and then have you made into some amusing little tinker-toy.

And GQ got a rare interview with the Angels owner today:

GQ: Is there concern about paying him $30 million when he’s 41 years old?
Arte Moreno: Someone else asked me this, and I said, “I’ll tell you something: If he’s healthy enough and he’s playing for us, then I’m gonna just say, ‘Merry Christmas to all baseball fans,’” because we get to see one of the best players of our generation coming to bat.

I hope Pujols plays until he’s 41 but there’s a good chance by then the Angels will be looking for a mulligan on this contract like most teams do that sign an aging player to a deal like they did with Pujols.

I’d also recommend checking out Halo Hangout’s take on the interview. It’s headed up by our boy MJ Lloyd and it’s a pretty good long view on the Angels. What I can’t figure out is why ESPN didn’t capitalize on the interest the Angels will draw and start an Angels blog similar to ‘The Heat Index’.

Since there’s nothing like that–if you want the pulse of the Angels lockerroom this season we would say your best bet is to check out what MJ is saying about them. Plus he’ll publish more dick jokes than ESPN would.

10 Bold Predictions for 2012: The Arrival of David Freese helps Cardinals forget Albert Pujols

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a ’10 Bold Predictions for 2012′ series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our second prediction is that the arrival of David Freese as a superstar. This will help in providing a soft landing spot in the transition of the Cardinals and their fans into the post-Pujols era.

Those 21 postseason RBI last October showed me all that was necessary to confirm my belief on David Freese. The guy is a big time player just waiting to spread his gigantic wings. It might only be for a season or so, but Freese is going to be on everyone’s radar by the time this season is finished as he should be already.

I remember watching a Cardinals game with a friend back in 2010 when this big strong kid who was playing third base for the Cardinals that day got into a couple of pitches and stroked them backside off the wall in St. Louis with perpetual ease for doubles.

“That’s a nice looking player right there.”

We both seemed to say it synonymously with each other, to the point we probably laughed. From that day forward I knew his name, and I was going to make sure I kept this one David Freese on my radar.

He has the propensity to get nicked easily–he’s played just 184 games over three seasons in the big leagues–and at times he still appears to be a bit ‘raw’. But there’s something about Freese that tells me he’s capable of a lot more.

Chipper Jones said earlier this spring that he likes Freese’s all around make up more than that of Ryan Zimmerman or David Wright, two players he considers to be superstars in their own right.

Freese will be 29 years old this season, so while he’s not young he’s ripe for the age of arrival, and arrive he will. Freese’s star might shine brightly only for a moment. He strikes us as a guy who could be off the charts unbelievable for one season on the back of his baseball card and then slowly taper off with seasons of .270/17/70 before riding off into the sunset. But one of those years will stand out to the fans who look back on Freese’s career numerical epitaph.

While there’s a lot of talk about Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina picking up the slack and combining the sum to replace the big part that departed for Orange County earlier in the off season, the one who will come closest to pulling a Pujols will be David Freese.

Freese has a career slash line of .354/.429/.783 during the regular season. In his 18 game postseason he decided he was going to show you all a flash of what is to come with a .465/.794/1.258 impression. He’ll settle somewhere in between that this season as he gets cozy in the middle of that St. Louis order and earns his status as a baseball rockstar in 2012.

How does .305 with 30 home runs and 120 RBI sound to you? We predict he stays healthy all year long and the BB to K ratio gets a lot closer to 1/1 this year. So while we will admit to you that he won’t be Brooks Robinson over the course of his career, he can be 1999 Fernando Tatis in St. Louis this season and play the part well.

David Freese, meet super stardom. You have been knighted.