National League MVP.

 

    Career Leaders in OPS+ (BR)

 

1.  Babe Ruth  207

2.  Ted Williams 191

3.  Barry Bonds  182

4.  Lou Gehrig  179

5.  Rogers Hornsby  175

6.  Mickey Mantle  172

7.  Dan Brouthers  170

Joe Jackson 170

Albert Pujols 170

 

    

     Albert Pujols is one of the greatest players to play this game…ever.  And I know he must continue to have success to be included amongst the greatest players ever, when his career is all said and done.  But as of now, he is simply incredible.  The OPS+ should almost definitely be a little lower when he retires because of natural regression, but to be in this company at any moment of time, among qualifyiers, is remarkable.  Pujols is one of the two best players in the game of baseball, and is potentially THE best player in the game.  We can say Alex Rodriguez is the best, but do we really want him over Pujols?  No offense to ARod, he gets a lot of crap for being great, but I would feel more comfortable having Pujols on my team than ARod.  That being said, we cannot say that they face the same kind of competition day in and day out.  If Rodriguez were playing in the National League, he may be killing the ball, like Pujols, even more than he already is (most of the time). But that is beside the point, because this is really written to show why Pujols is the MVP of the National League. 

 

     If Lou Gehrig were on the Cardinals this season, rather than Pujols, the Cardinals would still have missed the playoffs.  That is an example of what I think of Albert Pujols.  Pujols finished the league second, in the complex form of “Win Shares,” with 35, three fewer than Lance Berkman.  His OPS was first in the NL at 1.114, over 100 percentage points higher than the second place finisher, who happened to be Berkman also.  But of course Berkman played in more of a hitters park than Pujols.  To take that into account; OPS+ for Pujols was 190, to Berkman’s 158.  To break down Pujols line:  .357/.462/.653.  That is “Bondsian.”  I mean the .462 OBP is just about as close as it comes to making an out only 50% of the time.  “Albert the Incredible” “created” 142 runs, tops in the NL.  His average was an impressive .339 with RISP.  But Albert may have felt disappointed with that average in those situations, as it was actually lower than his average overall.  Pujols had an OPS of 1.044 in “Late and Close” situations.  And I don’t know how much strikeouts effect a game, rather than other outs.  As studies have shown that the strikeout is probably exaggerated a little.  Not that it is better than putting the ball in play, but an out is an out once everything is all said and done.  So when one looks back, it probably makes little difference if the batter popped out to first or if he struck out.  But if it matters, Pujols struck out only 54 times on the season, that is incredible.  Because I am sure of this, the strikeout is definitely more frustrating than anything else (outside of the DP).  So maybe Pujols is the MVP because fans don’t have to watch him rack up an insane number of K’s (Ryan Howard).    

 

     As far as glove work…Pujols is noted as being a wiz with the glove.  Not Ozzie Smith-impact-the-game-significantly-like.  But more like underrated-athlete-who-happens-to-be-a-power-hitting-first-baseman.  Pujols used to be a 3rd baseman, and apparently, so I’ve heard, needed to be moved from one corner to the other because of surgery that constricted what he was capable of doing.  I don’t have any defensive metrics that I have faith in available to me right now.  But Pujols has been one of the best defensive 1B in the game for the past few years, and I don’t think it has changed much.  So I choose him over a guy like Berkman because of defense, more reputation unfortunately, and because of the fact that Berkman is helped more by his home park.  Although, Berkman may not even have been my second choice anyway, but nevertheless had a great season.  It is just easier to compare the two, as they both play the same position. 

 

     Some critics used to get on the voters for voting Bonds over Pujols, saying that Pujols was more deserving.  He wasn’t.  Bonds was the best.  But if Bonds didn’t exist, than Pujols may very well have deserved to win six different MVP’s by now, including this year (2002-2006, 2008).  And he is only 28 years old.  He is truly that great of a player.  Since Bonds does exist, this should be his third MVP award, but will, if he wins it, only be his second.  For a guy that was drafted in the 13th round, that isn’t too shabby. 

 

       

1 Comment

Great blog, as usual . . . I agree 100 percent, no question that Pujols is the N.L. MVP this season, regardless of what happens when the actual voting is announced. So Lou Gehrig couldn’t have got the Cardinals into the postseason this year . . . that’s what I love about stats, good stuff.

— David
http://sportsbythenumbers.mlblogs.com/

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