Albert Pujols: Best Player Today?
Albert Pujols is on track to post his ninth consecutive season of hitting 30 homers and driving in 100 runs and hitting .300. Nobody in the history of baseball that I know of has accomplished this feat.
Among his accomplishments are the fact that he has had less than 35 doubles in a season only once and in 2006 he missed it by only two doubles. He has had 40 doubles in a season three times and 50 doubles in a season twice.
As of today Pujols has 325 homers at the age of 29. By the end of next season he could have close to 400 homers or more at the age of 30. He has never hit less than 32 homers in a season and only Adam Dunn is close to his home run totals among 29 year old players. Dunn has 282 homers and next on the list is 29 year old Mark Teixeira with 206.
He may never catch up with Alex Rodriguez who has 553 at the age of 33 and will be 34 in July but he should come very close by the time he is 34.
Pujols has had 120 RBI’s in a season in six of his eight seasons in the majors. He needs two RBI’s to have 1000 RBI’s. The next 29 year olds behind Pujols are Teixeira and Dunn with 685 and 684 RBI’s respectively. 26 year old Miguel Cabrera has 662 RBI’s so should be close to the RBI numbers of Pujols by the time he is 29.
One of his most amazing stats this season is that he has struck out only four times in 58 at bats. His lowest batting average was in 2002 when he hit .314. He has hit .327 or higher in every other season. His .334 lifetime batting average is first among active players and is 23rd on the all time list.
His .625 slugging percentage leads all active players and he is the only active player with a mark over .600. Even more amazing is that he is fourth all time in slugging with only Babe Ruth at .689, Ted Williams at .633 and Lou Gehrig at .632 ahead of him on the list.
There are only two active players with a lifetime OPS over 1.000 and they are Pujols with a 1.048 mark and Manny Ramirez next with a OPS of 1.005.
He is fifth on the all time OPS list with Babe Ruth leading at 1.163, Ted Williams at 1.115, Lou Gehrig at 1.079 and Barry Bonds at 1.051 with Pujols having a 1.048 mark.
Pujols should be well on his way to 3000 hits with 1551 after yesterday’s game and should have over 1700 by the end of the season. The only player close to his age with similar numbers is Adrian Beltre who has 1591 at the age of 30 and he also has a chance at 3000 hits.
This season Pujols is hitting .345 and has driven in a run in seven of his last ten games and has twelve RBI’s in that span. His 21 RBI’s leads the majors and he is slugging .724 with an OPS of 1.184.
Pujols in my estimation is the best player in the majors today. Some may say Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez are better players. I have heard several times that Ramirez is the best righthanded hitter in baseball but with Pujols hitting .334 lifetime and Ramirez hitting .314 during his career I would have to give the edge to Pujols.
It is true that Rodriguez and Ramirez already have their home runs and RBI’s in the bank but unless something unforeseen happens to Pujols he should be close to their numbers by the time he retires.
The biggest positive is that Pujols is a team player and never makes the news off the field unless it is about him working to help in a charitable cause. The Cardinals will have to make a momentous decision in a couple of years because they will have to decide whether to pay him what he is worth or trade him before he becomes a free agent so they will have something in return for the greatest baseball player today.
In conclusion if I had my choice of any player to start a team with it would be Albert Pujols because he is not only a great baseball player but the kind of player to build a team around.