The Spectacle Blog

Kemp vs. Pujols: A Tale of Two LAs

By on 5.1.12 | 12:40PM

Well, April is in the books for MLB. The most striking story to come out of MLB in the first month of the season took place in Los Angeles. Specifically, I refer to the contrast in performance between the sluggers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels and consequently the teams.

Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp had a banner month. Kemp, who signed an eight year contract extension with the Dodgers worth $160 million in the off season, hit .417 with 12 home runs and 25 RBI. His OBP is .490. That means he effectively reaches base in half of his plate appearances. Even so, I am surprised he's only walked 13 times and hasn't been issued an intentional walk yet this season. Kemp will surely be named NL Player of the Month.

However, if one were to drive south on I-5 to Anaheim, the same cannot be said for Albert Pujols. April is a month Pujols and the Angels would just as soon forget. Like Kemp, Pujols had exactly 98 plate apperances in April. Unfortunately, Pujols hit exactly 200 points below Kemp. That's right. For the month of April, Pujols hit .217 with no home runs and only 4 RBI. The Angels, of course, signed Pujols to a 10-year deal worth $254 million.

It's probably no surprise that the Dodgers and Angels are going in opposite directions. What is a surprise is the respective directions in which they are going. The Dodgers, fresh off years of ownership turmoil, own the best record the NL, going 16-7 in April. They currently have a 3½ game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Conversely, the Angels despite signing Pujols and former Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson are in last place in the AL West with an 8-15 record in April. They are currently 9 games back of the two time AL champion Rangers.

But baseball is a funny game and there is much more to come. Fortunes can change fast over six months. So it would not come as a surprise to me in the least if Pujols finished the 2012 season with more home runs than Kemp and if the Angels did better than the Dodgers at season's end.

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