Key Stats: Albert Pujols deserves to be the number one player taken off the board. Here are 10 reasons why.
- For ten straight years he’s hit at least 30 home runs and driven in 100 runs.
- He’s had nine seasons of 100 or more runs scored.
- He has finished with a better walk rate than strikeout rate eight straight seasons.
- His slugging percentage has been over .600 seven times.
- He has been intentionally walked more than 20 times in six consecutive seasons.
- He has led the league in runs scored five times.
- During his career, Pujols has led the Majors in four out of the five major five by five categories.
- In the fifth category, steals, he’s averaged 12 per season over the last three seasons. More than any first baseman.
- He’s missed 10 or more games twice in his career and never missed more than 20.
- He has one year left before signing the biggest contract in baseball history (if he wants it).
Skeptics Say: He has a .231 career OPS against the Angels. What?
Peer Comparison: As indicated by the rankings below, he doesn’t compare to players of today. Thanks to the research of fellow FBHS writer Kobash, we are going to compare him to nine players over the course of baseball history. Since Pujols has only played ten years, we are looking at the best ten year stretch of all of these players’ careers. Keep in mind, Pujols only has one ten year stretch to speak of, so he’s at a disadvantage.
Babe Ruth (1919-1928): 1394 Games/1347 Runs/1701 Hits/450 HR/1,291 RBI/.353 AVG/1.227 OPS Aggregate Total: 23
Lou Gerhig (1927-1936): 1538 Games/1417 Runs/2022 Hits/390 HR/1,527 RBI/.350 AVG/1.118 OPS Aggregate Total: 16
Joe DiMaggio (1936-1948): 1405 Games/1146 Runs/1,853 Hits/303 HR/1,277 RBI/.987 OPS Aggregate Total: 40
Mickey Mantle (1952-1961): 1436 Games/1183 Runs/1,609 Hits/361 HR/998 RBI/.311 AVG/1.017 OPS Aggregate Total: 41
Willie Mays (1956-1965): 1,547 Games/1,179 Runs/1,844 Hits/389 HR/1,074 RBI/.315 AVG/.983 OPS Aggregate Total: 39
Hank Aaron (1962-1971): 1,521 Games/1,072 Runs/1,766 Hits/386 HR/1,097 RBI/.308 AVG/.954 OPS Aggregate Total: 48
Barry Bonds (1995-2004): 1,435 Games/1,180 Runs/1,143 Hits/444 HR/1,083 RBI/.315 AVG/1.169 OPS Aggregate Total: 37
Alex Rodriguez (2001-2010) 1,513 Games/1,130 Runs/1,706 Hits/424 HR/1,236 RBI/.299 AVG/.971 OPS Aggregate Total: 43
Albert Pujols (2001 – 2010): 1,558 Games/1,186 Runs/1900 Hits/408 HR/1,230 RBI/.331 AVG/.1.056 OPS Aggregate Total: 22
The aggregate total is based on ranking the players one through nine (similar to a roto league except low score wins). Essentially what this means, is that Pujols is the second best fantasy baseball slugger of all-time. And he could close the gap on Gehrig if he blows up this year.
Lineup Outlook: There is a variety of potential in the Cardinals outfield. Matt Holliday is guaranteed production. Colby Rasmus is the x-factor. If he can get at-bats and respect from his teammates, he can be a great source of runs or RBI for Pujols. Lance Berkman’s production has fallen since the second half of 2008, so don’t expect that to change.
What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #1 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #1 First Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #1 Overall; John Halpin of Fox Sports: #1 Overall; RotoChamp: #1 Overall; Charlie Saponara: #1 Overall; Fantasy Newsman: #1 First Baseman
Projection: Pujols would likely veto any possible deal, but don’t believe for a second that won’t stop a rumor or two from flying around this season.
114 R 44 HR 121 RBI 12 SB .328 AVG 1.103 OPS
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