Marveling at Albert Pujols
So far, this blog has focused on the more controversial awards races. It seems about time to detail the one race that is simple and straightforward. Albert Pujols should, and will, win the NL MVP. Because of the lack of controversy, I worry that his season is not attracting the attention that it rightly deserves. Briefly, I want to highlight this year’s brilliance, the aclaimed company his MVP will place him in, and his current place in baseball history.
As of today, Pujols leads the National League in runs, home runs, RBI’s, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, walks, total bases, extra base hits, runs created, and intentional walks. He is currently second in batting average. sixth in hits, and fourth in doubles. This sort of statistical dominance is astounding and will likely produce a unanimous vote for the MVP in November. This will give him his third MVP award in his first nine seasons.
At this point, we should pause to reflect on the greatness implicit in that last statement. Three MVP’s will tie Pujols for second on all-time MVP list, behind only Barry Bonds’ 7. He will be tied with Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Schmidt. He is already in the company of some of the greatest careers in baseball history, and he is only 29.
Finally we should consider his rank among his age group. As mentioned above, Pujols turned 29 before the start of this season. For his age, Pujols ranks
1st – Intentional Walks
2nd – Doubles
3rd – Extra Base Hits
4th – Slugging Percentage
5th – OPS, Runs Created, Adjusted Batting Runs, At Bats per Home Run
6th – Total Bases, Home Runs, Adjusted Batting Wins, Times on Base
7th – RBI
8th – Adjusted OPS+
Simply put, Pujols is off to one of the best career starts of anyone in baseball history. This year is no aberration; it is just par for the course.