Albert Pujols and…Chase Headley? That’s right, Chase Headley, the San Diego Padres third sacker, has had a very similar, if not better, 2012 campaign as $240 million man Albert Pujols. Playing in the NL West, where most of the spotlight is put on the big market Giants and Dodgers, it is difficult for a guy like Headley to receive the recognition he deserves. Even after getting hot post-all-star break, his Padres sit in 4th place and out of the playoff picture. Despite his team’s struggles, Chase has blossomed into a star; putting together a fantastic season with a stat line of .282/.371/.489/ with 29 long balls and a national league leading 108 runs batted in. Just to give an idea of how productive that is, Albert Pujols has posted these numbers: .286/.342/.522 with 30 round trippers and 101 RBI. Other eye-popping similarities between the two are found in offensive categories such as runs (Headley 86, Pujols 81), hits (Headley 160, Pujols 160), WAR (Headley 5.2, Pujols 4.6) OPS (Headley .860, Pujols .865) and OPS+ (Headley 137, Pujols 136). One problem Headley does run into is striking out. He has whiffed 151 times compared to Pujols’ 68. However, on a more positive note for Headley, he has only grounded into 7 double plays while Pujols has bounced into 18 “rally killers.”
To make this season even more impressive for Headley, he has done his damage in Petco Park, the ultimate nightmare for a hitter. In terms of runs scored per game, Petco is the 6th worst park to hit in during the 2012 season and has the third lowest home run rate in all of baseball. In 2012, Headley is hitting a very respectable .265/.350/.434 in Petco Park. Of course this means Headley has been great on the road, with 18 of his 29 bombs coming away from San Diego along with improvements in nearly all offensive categories. In addition, the lineup around him is not exactly a run-producing machine and lacks power and on base skills, further proving his production is not an illusion. Aside from Headley, only one other player on the team has double-digit home runs (Carlos Quentin 16). All in all, look for Chase Headley to potentially win a silver slugger in the National League at third base for the 2012 season.