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Ten reasons why I shouldn't have picked Pujols
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Apparently, writing about sports makes me incredibly hungry.

A few nights ago after work, all I could think about was filling my stomach with something delicious.

But not just any snack would do. I coveted a mouth-watering treat so addictive that I hesitate to even mention its name.

Of course, the dessert I'm referring to is the Reese's peanut-butter-infused Sonic Blast, available at participating Sonics.

I didn't care what time it was, what day it was or how many NBA playoff games were going on at that particular moment. I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate or even sleep until I satisfied this craving.

So I popped into the nearest Sonic, just a couple miles down the road from Sports Network headquarters in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.

As I pulled into the driveway, a sense of uneasiness came over me. The parking lot was deserted (no pun intended).

"It can't be closed," I tried to reason with myself. "Sonic doesn't close until midnight."

But then a teenage girl rolled down the drive-through window and delivered the bad news. "We're closed," she said, apologetically.

Ten minutes later, I was in my car eating a Wendy's Frosty. With each bite, I pondered quietly about what might have been.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that owning Albert Pujols in fantasy is a bit like eating a Frosty. Sure, it's good, but it's no Sonic Blast.

Because one painful ice cream experience wasn't enough for me, I took Pujols with the eighth overall pick in this year's draft. I've been regretting it ever since.

Today, I'm doing my best David Letterman impression. Here are the top ten reasons why drafting Pujols was a mistake.

1. It's unoriginal: Come on. What is this ... 2005? Pujols hasn't been to an All-Star game since 2010. That's 81 Ryan Braun homers ago.

2. He's hurt and he won't sit out: Back in April, Pujols said the plantar fasciitis in his foot was so bad that he felt like he was "dying."

A month on the DL might be all Pujols needs to get back to full strength. But his stubbornness has prevented that from happening. The ailing first baseman has missed just one game all season. And it's his fantasy owners who have had to suffer (and him too, I guess).

3. Josh Hamilton has been in a slump since last June: Since hitting .368 with 21 HR and 71 RBI in the first two months of 2012, Hamilton has been an out machine (.234, 24 HR, 80 RBI in 509 at bats).

Most years, Hamilton's predicament would be of minor importance to Pujols but now the two are teammates. With Hamilton swinging at air in the cleanup spot, opposing pitchers don't have to give Pujols anything to hit. Maybe that's why Prince Albert is hitting just .231 this season.

4. He's too old: "But she's an old lady. I mean, look at her. She's old. You can't just take her house ... she's too old."

Leave it to Happy Gilmore to put things in perspective. Pujols celebrated his 33rd birthday this past January. Want to know how many players 33 or older were in the top 20 in home runs last season? Just four: Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Alfonso Soriano and Josh Willingham. The year before that, there were only two (Lance Berkman and Paul Konerko).

5. These guys were still on the board when I picked Pujols: I feel like Newman in the burning mail truck yelling,"OH THE HUMANITY!"

Chris Davis: .318, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 1.074 OPS

Prince Fielder: .304, 8 HR, 32 RBI

Bryce Harper: .312, 9 HR, .633 SLUG

Justin Upton: league-leading 12 HR

Joey Votto: .318 AVG, .454 OBP

6. Look at the pitchers he has to face in the AL West: There's no rest for the weary in this division.

Yu Darvish: 5-1, 2.56 ERA, 72 K's

Felix Hernandez: 5-2, 1.53 ERA

Derek Holland: 2.74 ERA

Hisashi Iwakuma: 3-1, 1.61 ERA

At least he has the Astros to look forward to. Poor Houston. You're too sweet for the AL.

7. The power just isn't there anymore: Remember when Pujols was a guaranteed 40 HR and 110 RBI? This season he's on pace for 25 and 96.

Here's another telling stat. Only 35.7 percent of Pujols' hits this season have gone for extra bases. See how that compares to his extra base percentages over the last five seasons.

2012: 46.2

2011: 38.2

2010: 44.8

2009: 50.0

2008: 43.3

BRENNAN HUFF: Did Pujols just become a singles hitter?

DALE DOBACK: Yep!

HUFF: Do you want to go do karate in the garage?

DOBACK: Yep!

8. He has no speed whatsoever: What's frustrating is that Pujols was a threat for 20 steals as recently as 2010 (30 combined thefts in 2009-10). We're still waiting for Pujols to record his first steal of the 2013 campaign. He was gunned down at second by Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan in his only attempt of the season.

9. His contact rate is slipping: The strikeouts are definitely starting to pile up. Pujols is on pace for 91 punchouts this season, which would be his most since his rookie season in 2001 (93 K's that year). That's almost a 20 percent increase from last season (76 whiffs in 607 at bats).

10. He's a year away from losing his first base eligibility: It looks like Pujols will probably be a full-time DH by the time 2014 rolls around. Only 55 percent of his starts this season have come at first base. That won't win him any new fans, especially in keeper leagues.

Ron Burgundy said milk was a bad choice. So was Pujols.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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