Where Have All the Sluggers Gone?

Long lines suck. Coke lines are bad for you. And conga lines are cliché. But the worst possible type of line in the whole wide world is the Mendoza Line.

For those of you that don’t know, that’s a .200 batting average. If you are “below the Mendoza Line,” you are a really terrible baseball player.

Some players manage to play an entire 162-game season and hit below the line, yet still sign lucrative contracts (that’s you Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds). I won’t ever understand THAT, but it’s not the topic of conversation tonight.

What I want to know is how in the world three incredibly talented hitters are flirting with Mendoza so hard that their wives think they are being cheated on!

Namely, Albert Pujols (.212), Jose Bautista (.195) and Eric Hosmer (.182). These are some of the better hitters in all of baseball, and they are all struggling mightily.

If it were still early in the season, it can be excused as a slow start, but we are almost 1/4 of the way through. Now it becomes worrisome. All three teams have serious playoff aspirations in 2012, but I can guarantee none will get there without these players stepping up.

Here’s my outlook for the power-hitting American League trio:

Pujols – He is Albert Pujols. He will be fine. He hit his second homer tonight and will probably go .300/30/100 by the end of the season. Sure, he took more time to adjust to the AL than many expected, but there is a reason the guy is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame at age 32.

Bautista – The Jays’ main man has bloomed late in his career and hit nearly 100 homers combined in the last two seasons. In 2011 he really put his game together, raising his average and improving his plate discipline. So is 2012 a fluke or was 2011? I think he’ll have a rough average (maybe .265 at best) but should post another 30 homer, 100 RBI season. Don’t worry, Canada!

Hosmer – This kid is the one I’m most worried about. He’s making my trendy Wild Card pick of the Royals look ridiculous with his play right now. The Sophomore Slump is in full effect for Hosmer, who looked like the next great star in baseball. With a swing like his, I think he’ll have a fine career. This season? If he hits 25 homer I’ll be shocked at this point.

There you have it. What do YOU think about Pujols, Bautista and Hosmer? Comment below or tweet me @Jamblinman!

Thanks for reading. Until tomorrow, please don’t snort any Mendoza lines.

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