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Thursday, July 27, 2017

A look into Albert Pujols’ terrible 2017 - Halos Heaven

He only has four years and $114 million to go (18:$27M, 19:$28M, 20:$29M, 21:$30M).

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:18 PM | 131 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: albert pujols, angels

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   1. Rally Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:32 PM (#5500791)
I'll repost what I put in the dugout as this thread will be more appropriate:

Albert Pujols is in danger of passing the 100 WAR level twice, but this time in the wrong direction. He finished 2015 at 99.7 and passed 100 last year, but with his awful season is down to 100.0.

As far as I can tell, no player has ever reached 100 bWAR and then fallen under, at least on a seasonal level. If we went back to calculate day by day WAR for everyone I'm sure somebody would have reached 100 and gone 0-4 the next day or something like that.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5500794)
Are they going to post Pujols' home address?
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:38 PM (#5500797)
Sad.
   4. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5500810)
As far as I can tell, no player has ever reached 100 bWAR and then fallen under, at least on a seasonal level. If we went back to calculate day by day WAR for everyone I'm sure somebody would have reached 100 and gone 0-4 the next day or something like that.


The Falcons (naturally) had something like that happen to them: In 1972, Dave Hampton surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing yard mark during the Falcons' final game of the season—the first Falcon to ever do so. The game was stopped to give him the game ball. He was promptly tackled for a six-yard loss on the following play and ended the season with 995 yards.

Falcons football, everyone!

   5. jmurph Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5500821)
The Falcons (naturally) had something like that happen to them: In 1972, Dave Hampton surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing yard mark during the Falcons' final game of the season—the first Falcon to ever do so. The game was stopped to give him the game ball. He was promptly tackled for a six-yard loss on the following play and ended the season with 995 yards.

Falcons football, everyone!

My god that is a delightful story.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5500829)
The Falcons (naturally) had something like that happen to them: In 1972, Dave Hampton surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing yard mark during the Falcons' final game of the season—the first Falcon to ever do so. The game was stopped to give him the game ball. He was promptly tackled for a six-yard loss on the following play and ended the season with 995 yards.


They pulled this same type of maneuver off on the team level this past winter.

   7. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5500831)
I remember that story from the old SI sports blooper videos from the 80's. Whossame the catcher for Bob Gibson and probably someone like Christie Brinkley narrate it.
   8. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5500843)
The Falcons (naturally) had something like that happen to them: In 1972, Dave Hampton surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing yard mark during the Falcons' final game of the season—the first Falcon to ever do so. The game was stopped to give him the game ball. He was promptly tackled for a six-yard loss on the following play and ended the season with 995 yards.

Falcons football, everyone!


That's hilarious. As a non-football fan living in Atlanta, this kind of schadenfreude is delicious.
   9. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5500844)
He finished with 997 the next year, but squeaked over with 1,002 in 1975.

But yeah, if any sequence of events has ever defined a football franchise, it's that one with Atlanta.
   10. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5500846)
They pulled this same type of maneuver off on the team level this past winter.


Pretty much. But, like Dave Hampton, we press on!
   11. caspian88 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:17 PM (#5500850)
So, is Pujols done? He no longer hits for average, he doesn't walk much, he can't run (and apparently he is now one of the slowest players in the game), he doesn't play the field anymore, and his power is now fairly unimpressive.

I'm wondering what, mechanically, has happened to him. Presumably his running speed has declined to the point that it is a problem, and his bat speed has sapped his power and ability to hit the ball with authority, and pitchers are no longer worried about challenging him in the strike zone. Age and nagging injuries, I assume, catching up to him.

Is there hope for a recovery, or is Pujols now essentially worthless? His drive to 3000 hits next year (89 to go) might make his continued play worthwhile financially (maybe), but if he's an 80 OPS+ DH, once he gets there, he has to be done. He's not reaching 2000 RBI, he's not passing Mays in HR. 2018 could be it, and 2017 probably should be it.
   12. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:20 PM (#5500854)
At this point do the writers put him in the hall on the first vote?
   13. Brian C Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:30 PM (#5500860)
I remember Sosa's last couple years, his bat speed had eroded to the point where he couldn't catch up to even average fastballs. As a result, he basically sat on hanging breaking pitches. If he got one, he could still hit it, but that was just about all he could do.

I haven't watched Pujols much this year but I wonder if he doesn't look basically the same way - a shell of his former self, just hanging around waiting for the pitcher to throw him a meatball.
   14. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5500864)
At this point do the writers put him in the hall on the first vote?


What possible reason would they have for not voting for a 3-time MVP, 4-time runner up with 600 HR, 3,000 hits*, 100 WAR**, two rings and great postseason numbers who is well-liked? Are there substantial PED rumors I'm unaware of?


*Probably
**For now at least
   15. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5500865)
Well, Frank Thomas got something like 83 or 84% of the vote and his decline was less ugly than this.
   16. Shredder Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:57 PM (#5500881)
The Falcons (naturally) had something like that happen to them: In 1972, Dave Hampton surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing yard mark during the Falcons' final game of the season—the first Falcon to ever do so. The game was stopped to give him the game ball. He was promptly tackled for a six-yard loss on the following play and ended the season with 995 yards.
Something like this happened in the arena league if I recall. A guy broke the career rushing record. On his next play he got tackled for a loss, costing him the record for a moment. Then, the next time he ran the ball, he broke the record again.
   17. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 27, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5500882)
There are persistent rumors that he is three years older than his official age. I have no idea if they are true or not.
   18. Captain Supporter Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5500886)
I'm wondering what, mechanically, has happened to him.


You are, huh. I'm wondering what, pharmaceutically, has happened to him.

The Sosa compare (13) strikes me as a good one.
   19. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5500887)
Well, Frank Thomas got something like 83 or 84% of the vote and his decline was less ugly than this.


Albert is a superior player to Frank. Frank's WAA peaked at 40. With all his decline, Albert is currently at 65.8, with a peak of 69.1.
   20. Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5500888)
Is there hope for a recovery, or is Pujols now essentially worthless? His drive to 3000 hits next year (89 to go) might make his continued play worthwhile financially (maybe), but if he's an 80 OPS+ DH, once he gets there, he has to be done. He's not reaching 2000 RBI, he's not passing Mays in HR. 2018 could be it, and 2017 probably should be it.

Say they keep him around for the quest for 3000. That would still leave $87 million on the books for 2019-2020-2021. That's a tough buyout.
   21. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5500897)
Something like this happened in the arena league if I recall. A guy broke the career rushing record. On his next play he got tackled for a loss, costing him the record for a moment. Then, the next time he ran the ball, he broke the record again.


Didn't the same thing happen to Peyton Manning the day he broke Bret Favre's career passing yards?
   22. Rally Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:13 PM (#5500903)
Angels did a 3 year buyout on Hamilton, so it's conceivable.

I hope that he can find a miraculous second wind and go out like David Ortiz. But it's not looking so good, I think the question is whether it becomes ugly (unconditional release even with the personal services contract pending) or amicable (medical retirement with some kind of buyout settlement).
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:15 PM (#5500904)
I think the question is whether it becomes ugly (unconditional release even with the personal services contract pending) or amicable (medical retirement with some kind of buyout settlement

What settlement? Pujols has no incentive to accept anthing less than every penny he's owed. Maybe you could defer some of it if your offer him an above market interest rate.
   24. eric Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5500907)
There was an article years ago about how Albert Pujols was completely off the charts in regards to a variety of reaction/quickness tests (found it here). I'm guessing age has caused him to slip in those areas. I've watched a few Angels games and he seems to read pitches poorly. I see him swinging at a lot of breaking balls low and out of the zone resulting in routine grounders. As a pitcher, if he can't lay off those pitches, why would you throw him anything that he could actually drive?
   25. Rally Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5500914)
One thing to keep in mind is the way his contract was structured. Here's the 10 year dollar values:

12-16-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30

He was worth a lot more money that 12 million in 2012. In terms of expected value, the contract should have been structured in reverse (at the minimum):

30-29-28-27-26-25-24-23-16-12

So look at this as 4 years and 75 to go, with the Angels also owing him 39 million for the previous years, where he took less money to help the team stretch the payroll and field a better roster.

Helps a little, but still 4/75 is an awful lot of money for production not even worth the league minimum right now.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5500918)
One thing to keep in mind is the way his contract was structured. Here's the 10 year dollar values:

12-16-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30

He was worth a lot more money that 12 million in 2012. In terms of expected value, the contract should have been structured in reverse (at the minimum):

30-29-28-27-26-25-24-23-16-12


OK, but that 2nd stream of payments is worth a fair bit more than the first. Teams should always backload, if it doesn't increase total $ on the deal. Their WACC is likely quite high, given the fairly strict debt limits in MLB.
   27. eric Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:22 PM (#5500920)
Pujols has no incentive to accept anthing less than every penny he's owed.


The incentive not to absolutely embarrass himself, hurt his legacy, and subject himself and his family to public ridicule everywhere they go? Maybe that's worth a few million of the $114MM he's owed. Agree to spread out the payments over the next 20-30 years, then he goes out with a happy retirement announcement to cheers rather than a pink slip after too many boos and embarrassing ABs.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5500924)
Teams releasing aging stars before the end of their contract does not cause absolute embarrassment or ridicule.
   29. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5500925)
Well, Frank Thomas got something like 83 or 84% of the vote and his decline was less ugly than this.


His peak also didn't hold a candle to Pujols'. He also spent more than half his career as a DH. Pujols might get to 40% at DH, if he plays 150 games a year there for 4 years (which is highly unlikely)

There are persistent rumors that he is three years older than his official age. I have no idea if they are true or not.


I have heard this as well, though I also have no idea if they are true and if they were, what impact that would have on voters.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5500928)
The incentive not to absolutely embarrass himself, hurt his legacy, and subject himself and his family to public ridicule everywhere they go?

How's that going to happen? Do you think the Angels will run him out there every day for 4 years if he's a -2 WAR player?

Teams releasing aging stars before the end of their contract does not cause absolute embarrassment or ridicule.

This.
   31. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:30 PM (#5500932)
hurt his legacy and subject himself and his family to public ridicule everywhere they go?


Do you really think he'll be remembered as anything other than one of the greatest players of all time? =Do you really think people are going to go around ridiculing his family in public?

   32. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5500939)
Joe Poz has a great write-up of the Dave Hampton Game and Hampton's fortunes thereafter that I linked in today's dugout.
   33. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:35 PM (#5500945)
How's that going to happen? Do you think the Angels will run him out there every day for 4 years if he's a -2 WAR player?


Yeah, my guess is, once he hits 3,000, they'll have no incentive to keep him in the lineup. Not that milestones should be a reason to play a guy, but they sometimes are used as the reason. The Angels got 600 HR, they'll get 3,000 H early next year, and then, if he's still this awful, they'll work something out
   34. Rally Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:36 PM (#5500947)
Agree to spread out the payments over the next 20-30 years, then he goes out with a happy retirement announcement to cheers rather than a pink slip after too many boos and embarrassing ABs.


Give him the Bobby Bonilla plan, and the Angels can still be paying the Pujols estate after Mike Trout's grandkid is eligible for free agency.
   35. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:39 PM (#5500953)
Are they going to post Pujols' home address?


Weak. That was previous management.

Josh Mayhood - running the blog now with a lot of new blood - is doing a good job. I have interacted with Rev (previous and founding leader) online a lot and while he has made some beyond questionable decisions in the past, he was a good steward of that site. He was bombastic and said some really abrasive things - but he's not there anymore. There are some really solid writers there - a couple of really good folks writing on the minors, and a few newer writers doing some good analysis.

I still go there daily and Josh is doing a good job with Halos Heaven....
   36. eric Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5500955)
Just saying that if the Angels felt obligated to run him out there instead of releasing him, and his retiring would forfeit his money, he might want to avoid the (quite temporary) ignominy of continuing to embarrass himself by reaching a deal with the club. And, yes, if he were to go out there and stink it up for years, I think he would hear about it when out in public and his kids would hear about it at school as long as he kept stinking it up. As for legacy, people can hardly talk about Biggio or Rose without mentioning how long they held on, and even Mays' performance in the 1973 WS is talked about often enough. If he continues to play at the level he's been at this year, his career will always have that "held on too long" footnote along with it. I don't know what all that's worth, but I think it's there.
   37. Rally Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5500956)
What is the longest stretch of awful at the end of an alltime great career?

Pujols wasn't awful last year, a bit below average for the first time, but not awful. So it's 4 months and counting. Steve Carlton was awful for 2 years (86-87) and a handful of games in 1988.

I'm pretty sure that if it's downhill from here, and the Angels let him play it out, 5 years will be the worst stretch of awful ever. But I'm not sure who's record he'd be breaking.

Let's keep it to all time greats - Ryan Howard was not so never mind his last 5 years, or the last 11 years of Bill Bergen's career.
   38. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5500971)
If he continues to play at the level he's been at this year, his career will always have that "held on too long" footnote along with it. I don't know what all that's worth, but I think it's there.
I don't think it'll be worth $114 million.
   39. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 04:01 PM (#5500994)
What is the longest stretch of awful at the end of an alltime great career?

Pete Rose's last 5 years averaged 500 PA of .261/.348/.315 (86 OPS+) with 19 XBH and 1 HR as a mostly starting first baseman.
   40. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5501032)
I didn't get past "32". I wish I could undo my click.
   41. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 04:21 PM (#5501035)
Pete Rose's last 5 years averaged 500 PA of .261/.348/.315 (86 OPS+) with 19 XBH and 1 HR as a mostly starting first baseman.

While betting against the team he was managing.
   42. madvillain Posted: July 27, 2017 at 04:24 PM (#5501040)
His peak also didn't hold a candle to Pujols'. He also spent more than half his career as a DH. Pujols might get to 40% at DH, if he plays 150 games a year there for 4 years (which is highly unlikely)


This is a pretty large overbid, at least hitting wise:

Frank's peak using wRC+

178
179
175
170
205
168
168
179

Pujols'

150
184
167
174
155
184
180
164

In his peak, Frank was a better pure hitter than Albert. Albert gets more value from his defense sure, but as hitters, their peaks are quite similar, and just looking at the wRC+ from their 8 years I listed, Frank's is better.

FWIW, Pujols has now dipped below Frank for career wRC+ (150 to 154) and OPS+ (154 to 156) and with Albert still in his decline phase that gap will widen.


   43. Matt Welch Posted: July 27, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5501070)
Hard for a big man to hit without legs.
   44. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5501073)
This is a pretty large overbid, at least hitting wise:


My comment started out as a response to how Hall voters will look at him. Why in the world would I be restricting myself to just wRC+?

Pujols led all NL players in WAR 4 times, and was 2nd three other times. Thomas never once finished higher than 4th. Pujols led NL position players in WAR 6 times in a row, Thomas had 6 appearances in the Top 10 his entire career. Those peaks are not comparable.

Not to mention: rings, standout postseason moments (NLCS MVP in '04, Lidge in '05, 3 HRs in 1 WS game) and better postseason numbers overall, counting milestones, less time spent as a DH...this is really not a big reach to say that Pujols is a clearly superior player, and the voters will see that and make him 1st ballot
   45. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:08 PM (#5501076)
This is a pretty large overbid, at least hitting wise:

Frank's peak using wRC+

178
179
175
170
205
168
168
179

Pujols'

150
184
167
174
155
184
180
164

In his peak, Frank was a better pure hitter than Albert. Albert gets more value from his defense sure, but as hitters, their peaks are quite similar, and just looking at the wRC+ from their 8 years I listed, Frank's is better.

FWIW, Pujols has now dipped below Frank for career wRC+ (150 to 154) and OPS+ (154 to 156) and with Albert still in his decline phase that gap will widen.


I don't know what wRC+ is but looking at Albert's top years by WAR batting runs, Albert's 8th best year isn't much different than his 9th and 10th, whereas Frank's 9th best year is 20 fewer than his 8th. So it looks like Albert's peak was 10 years to Frank's 8. that's gotta count for a lot.

So the only way to get that Frank's peak was better is to look only at batting, and stop looking as soon as Frank goes into decline while Albert continued to be great for 2 more years.

Seems like an unconvincing argument.
   46. eric Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:08 PM (#5501078)
I don't think it'll be worth $114 million.


Maybe that's worth a few million of the $114MM he's owed.
   47. madvillain Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:11 PM (#5501080)
My comment started out as a response to how Hall voters will look at him. Why in the world would I be restricting myself to just wRC+?


I dunno bruh, which is why I put "at least hitting wise". I'm just sick of Thomas' hitting peak getting slagged. I don't really give a #### about Pujols' WAR advantage and somehow I don't think your HOF case voters do either FWIW. Voters have never given any indication they vote on WAR.

So the only way to get that Frank's peak was better is to look only at batting, and stop looking as soon as Frank goes into decline while Albert continued to be great for 2 more years.

Seems like an unconvincing argument.


"at least hitting wise". Christ, I should have known not to even wade into a HOF thread here. It's about the same as the OTP thread with people just not reading and talking over each other.
   48. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:17 PM (#5501082)
Maybe that's worth a few million of the $114MM he's owed.
Yeah, think about that. "You can stick around and play the game you love so much and we'll be forced to play you $114 million, or you can stop playing the game you love and get a tiny fraction of that." I dunno about you, but I know which way I'm leaning.
   49. Lassus Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:17 PM (#5501083)
I'm pretty sure the thought would also be that wRC+ is a bit cherry-picked.
   50. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:20 PM (#5501085)
So the only way to get that Frank's peak was better is to look only at batting
He was a DH, so that would make sense.
and stop looking as soon as Frank goes into decline while Albert continued to be great for 2 more years.
It'd be pretty easy to limit a peak argument to do that. I think #47 has it right.
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:23 PM (#5501087)
Albert was bouncing back a bit in July.... until the last two games(where he went 0-11) .. From July 1st to July 22nd he had 59 pa, .296/.356/.481/.837
   52. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5501090)
"at least hitting wise". Christ, I should have known not to even wade into a HOF thread here. It's about the same as the OTP thread with people just not reading and talking over each other.


I ignored it because it's an invalid argument. Voters in fact do care about things other than peak hitting. if they didn't, edgar martinez would have been in the Hall a long time ago, to be greeted by Albert Belle and Dick Allen.
   53. TDF, FCL Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:34 PM (#5501095)
There are persistent rumors that he is three years older than his official age. I have no idea if they are true or not.

I have heard this as well, though I also have no idea if they are true and if they were, what impact that would have on voters.
That might have mattered when he was hitting the crap out of the ball as a 21-22 year old; it has nothing to do with what his whole career looks like so shouldn't matter a whit to voters.
   54. TDF, FCL Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5501096)
Voters have never given any indication they vote on WAR.
Hey - someone else who's noticed this!
   55. TDF, FCL Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:42 PM (#5501099)
This is a pretty large overbid, at least hitting wise:

Frank's peak using wRC+

178
One nit: This was in just 240 PA, so really shouldn't be included as part of his peak.
   56. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:43 PM (#5501100)
What is the longest stretch of awful at the end of an alltime great career?


Brooks Robinson's last six years saw a line of .245/.306/.331, and an OPS+ of 85. He still had defensive value, though.
   57. TDF, FCL Posted: July 27, 2017 at 05:59 PM (#5501109)
Actually, madvillian, you're comparison isn't very good. Not only did you include a partial season for Thomas, you omitted a year for Pujols that changes the calculus. His 8 year peak would be:

184
171 - missing season
167
174
155
184
180
164

So Thomas' peak is 177 RC+ (both including the partial year and not) while Pujols' is 172 (174 for best 7) so during that 8 year period, Thomas is a slightly better hitter; however, it should be noted that Pujols had 640 more PA over his 8 year peak. And you also have to restrict "peak" to just 8 years because that's Thomas' first 8 seasons and he followed it with a couple of 126s; meanwhile, Pujols adds full-season numbers of 159 and 150 before and a 147 after his peak.

So while the original statement ("Thomas can't hold a candle to Pujols") isn't true, your counter ("In his peak, Frank was a better pure hitter than Albert") doesn't tell the whole story either.
   58. bfan Posted: July 27, 2017 at 06:09 PM (#5501116)
There are persistent rumors that he is three years older than his official age. I have no idea if they are true or not.

I have heard this as well, though I also have no idea if they are true and if they were, what impact that would have on voters.


It would make his high number of strike-outs in games in the little league world series less impressive.
   59. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2017 at 06:32 PM (#5501124)
Biggio had a rough ending. Griffey had a rough ending.

It's true that Thomas got "just" 83% of the vote. That was on a crowded ballot that also featured Maddux getting 97% and Glavine 91% and Biggio missing by .2%. If he'd have been the "best" player on the ballot rather than 3rd "best", he'd have received a lot more votes.

Griffey went in with 99.3% and from 31-40, he had just a 114 OPS+, fewer than 1000 hits, fewer than 200 HRs, fewer than 600 RBIs and 7 WAR (-5 WAA).

Pujols happens to be 3rd all-time in MVP shares, in a virtual tie with Stan Musial appropriately enough. It's a pretty impressive list.

Heck, the voters just gave Vlad 71.7% in his first ballot on a fairly crowded ballot where 3 were elected. The notion that Pujols will "struggle" to get elected on his first ballot is beyond absurd. If you want to argue that his decline will cost him 90% -- I think that's not a case that can be made either but at least you might be able to get it to plausible.
   60. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 27, 2017 at 06:42 PM (#5501132)
While betting against the team he was managing.


1. Suck at 1B, and, as manager, start yourself there almost every day anyway.

2. Bet against your own team.

3. Profit!
   61. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2017 at 06:48 PM (#5501140)
On the age thing ... there were lots of rumors when he was younger. It was stupid from the start ... as if it's a regular thing for 23-24 year-olds to post 150 OPS+s. But particularly following 9/11, the US firmed up its scrutiny of visa holders, especially when they came and went or applied for extensions/new visas. Lots of players did get caught. If Albert lied about his age, he almost certainly would have been caught. It's possible but unlikely that he was caught and it never came out publicly but the Angels certainly would have known so it's immaterial anyway.

As to roids ... he's been beating the tests for 12 years? WTF is the point of bothering to test then? Virtually his whole career had testing, his best years came during testing.

The man has his plantar fascitis, he got old, and he probably didn't make enough adjustments as he got old. It happens albeit rarely to hitters that good. Don't look now, but unfortunately the same thing might be happening to Cabrera.
   62. TDF, FCL Posted: July 27, 2017 at 07:00 PM (#5501149)
The notion that Pujols will "struggle" to get elected on his first ballot is beyond absurd. If you want to argue that his decline will cost him 90% -- I think that's not a case that can be made either but at least you might be able to get it to plausible.
Who doesn't vote for Pujols?

605 HRs - yeah totals are inflated but that's still #9 and if he plays all season next year he ends up #6 between Griffey and Mays.
612 2b - #12, 20 more and he's #10 - and the only guy top-10 in HR and 2b.
Career .300 hitter
Although he only had 2 GGs, he was always considered a great fielder.
3 MVPs; top-5 in 10 out of his first 11 seasons.
Hit .323/.431/.599 in 334 post-season PAs. Compare that to post-season god David Ortiz - .289/.404/.543 in 369 PA.

JAWS shows what's pretty obvious - Pujols is the 2nd best ever at his position. And he did all this during the meat of the steroid era, without a whiff of steroid rumors.

So I ask again - who doesn't vote for the guy?
   63. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2017 at 07:04 PM (#5501150)
Albert's decline (ages 31-36) is still 20 WAR. There's nothing particularly impressive about that but neither is it in the least atrocious. It's the same as Reggie and Alomar. It's a little better than Mantle (playing time). It's better than Ortiz, Raines and Thomas. It's 1 WAR shy of Ripken and Yaz. It's 2 shy of Gwynn, 3 shy of McCovey. It's way ahead of Griffey and Banks.

For sure, except for Griffey, Mantle and Ripken (and maybe Yaz and Banks), those are a lower-class of HoFer than we might have expected Albert to hang with but it's hardly a bad class of ballplayer.
   64. TDF, FCL Posted: July 27, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5501165)
For sure, except for Griffey, Mantle and Ripken (and maybe Yaz and Banks), those are a lower-class of HoFer than we might have expected Albert to hang with but it's hardly a bad class of ballplayer.
OTOH, Pujols is #5 in bWAR thru age-30.

Also, perceptions: Yaz accumulated 96.1 bWAR in his career, more than everyone on your list except Mantle.
   65. DanG Posted: July 27, 2017 at 07:49 PM (#5501174)
delete
   66. DanG Posted: July 27, 2017 at 08:09 PM (#5501190)
Players in past hundred years age 32+ with least WAA in last five seasons combined:

Player      WAA/po WAR/po OPS+   PA From   To   Age
Joe Carter   
-11.6   -1.8   93 2854 1994 1998 34-38
Pete Rose    
-11.1   -2.6   86 2469 1982 1986 41-45
Ryan Howard  
-11.1   -4.5   95 2122 2012 2016 32-36
Dave Parker  
-10.3   -0.6  101 2868 1987 1991 36-40 

Hall of famers

Player           WAA/po WAR/po OPS+   PA From   To   Age
Rabbit Maranville  
-8.2   -0.1   66 2503 1930 1935 38-43
Reggie Jackson     
-7.9   -0.1  102 2474 1983 1987 37-41
George Sisler      
-6.5    3.7   96 3066 1926 1930 33-37
Lou Brock          
-6.5    1.1   92 2392 1975 1979 36-40
Ken Griffey        
-6.3    0.7  102 2232 2006 2010 36-40
Jim Bottomley      
-5.9    1.7   95 2347 1933 1937 33-37
Eddie Murray       
-5.8    2.1   99 2428 1993 1997 37-41 
   67. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 27, 2017 at 08:46 PM (#5501216)
Yeah, my guess is, once he hits 3,000, they'll have no incentive to keep him in the lineup. Not that milestones should be a reason to play a guy, but they sometimes are used as the reason. The Angels got 600 HR, they'll get 3,000 H early next year, and then, if he's still this awful, they'll work something out

The timing will depend on when (if?) the Angels have a quality MLB hitter that they need to use at DH, and are close enough to contending that they can't overlook Pujols' performance. I doubt there would be any real compromise on what he's owed, just some negotiation over the timing and what is said about Pujols non-playing contributions going forward. Maybe Pujols can rebound enough to push this back a bit, but next season may be the limit. It'll probably play out similarly to A-Rod's departure, only more expensive.
   68. eric Posted: July 27, 2017 at 08:57 PM (#5501219)
As to roids ... he's been beating the tests for 12 years? WTF is the point of bothering to test then? Virtually his whole career had testing, his best years came during testing.


I agree with most everything you've said in this thread, but this part suggests things that are far from reality.

The US Cycling team beat tests for years. Olympic athletes pass tests for years. Then, when improved testing methods come out, they get caught.

Does MLB re-test samples 5-10 years later? Because if not (heck, even if so), you can be damn sure many players are still using. They're just using new drugs and methods that will take a few years for the testers to figure out. To believe otherwise is to reveal the utmost naivete about human nature.
   69. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2017 at 09:10 PM (#5501222)
I doubt his age was fudged but I don't think post 9/11 security would have caught him, he was living here throughout high school. Well, perhaps the new ID requirements that kicked in a short time ago might have.
   70. BDC Posted: July 27, 2017 at 10:28 PM (#5501248)
What is the longest stretch of awful at the end of an alltime great career?

Joe McGinnity, in his fifties, went 27-33 in three seasons of Class D ball.

Actually that's amazing.

One of the longest strings of being awful at the end of a career was Bill Buckner, who got over 1,000 PA over four seasons at Albert's current age and older, hitting as bad as or worse than Albert is now (in fact, steadily worse over the four years). And this was after the Buckner Game. It is the more remarkable, because truly great players can sometimes ride out a bad year in their old age because people figure them for a comeback (and sometimes they come through, like Reggie Jackson, who was terrible at age 37, too, but rebounded later). But Buckner was never all that good to begin with.
   71. The Duke Posted: July 27, 2017 at 10:40 PM (#5501263)
. He's been tested a lot with no surprises. Having said that, there are some dots you could connect like , unheralded player who over night becomes an all-star, played with McGwire, played for LaRussa, plantar fasciitis. Very doubtful in my mind. Frankly, he was never known for his power but for his pinpoint bat control,line drives, defense, base running - he was just a super smart player.

As for the hall, if you strip away all the players who were juicing he would have won more MVPs and hitting awards. Take away Bonds alone and pujols looks amazing compared to his competition. Take away all the suspected juicers and he stands alone.

Lower body injuries are killers. His feet problems have robbed him of a normal decline. I see him retiring at the end of next year. I'd love to see him come back and play a game in St. Louis uniform before he goes.

   72. The Duke Posted: July 27, 2017 at 10:41 PM (#5501265)
Ted Simmons ruined his hall of fame chances with many seasons of terrible performance
   73. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 27, 2017 at 10:45 PM (#5501271)
One of the longest strings of being awful at the end of a career was Bill Buckner, who got over 1,000 PA over four seasons at Albert's current age and older, hitting as bad as or worse than Albert is now


Ted Simmons too. From 1984 on, 84 OPS+ in over 1500 PA. OK, that's better than Buckner. But still pretty bad from a 1B/DH.
   74. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 27, 2017 at 11:22 PM (#5501300)
When you (both) mentioned Simmons, I automatically thought of his equally geriatric and way more terrible teammate on the '87 Braves, Graig Nettles. But it turns out that Nettles was a good hitter through his age-40 season (1985) with San Diego.
   75. zachtoma Posted: July 28, 2017 at 06:32 AM (#5501332)
Well, Frank Thomas got something like 83 or 84% of the vote and his decline was less ugly than this.


His decline isn't really that ugly. He's 37 (officially) and has been on a pretty steady downward trajectory since about 2010-11. He was still an above average hitter with power in 2016. It's only "ugly" because of the contract. If this was the reserve-clause era, he'd get designated or talked into retiring by team brass at the end of the season and that would be that, nobody would think of his 30's as a massive disappointment. Maybe a mild one, but it's in line with established aging curves, all it shows is that hey, he's human after all. If he's closer to 40 years old, it's not ugly by any reasonable standard.

Incidentally, he's one of a group of hitters whose offensive profiles changed around 2010, specifically w/ regard to BB and K rates. I have a hypothesis that this has to do with the changing strikezone at that time due to Pitch f/x, the knock-on effects of which we're still working through (the HR spike, deliberate or not, is part of it). Seems some players with previously great batting eyes actually suffered more than others in that transition -- Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, you could even say late career Chipper Jones. Btw, this is why I'm not a fan of robot umps. The pitch f/x data introduced gradual and controlled changes to the strike zone, and it still threw the game out of whack in a way that it's struggling to recover from today. The implications of precise robo-calling are impossible to predict, and probably much larger and more destabilizing than we anticipate. We think of the strike-zone as a simple binary, in or out, but that's not what it is - it's the central nexus of the game, a complex relationship of push-and-pull, give-and-take between pitcher and batter, all arbitrated by an impartial human eye as well as the long history of trained and conditioned responses every player carries with them - you don't try to mess with that too much, it's like brain surgery, you could easily lobotomize the patient without meaning to. The robot ump is not the perfection of the human ump, because they aren't oriented towards the same ends. It's the substitution of the human with something entirely different and unknown.
   76. Rally Posted: July 28, 2017 at 08:42 AM (#5501370)
The timing will depend on when (if?) the Angels have a quality MLB hitter that they need to use at DH, and are close enough to contending that they can't overlook Pujols' performance.


C.J. Cron was a slightly above average hitter his first 3 seasons. If he's playing well, he's a big slow free swinger with power, I would not have been at all surprised if he had a Trumbo like season.

Luis Valbuena was very good the previous 2 seasons in Houston, but he left all of the Astro utility player magic behind and it all found it's way into the bat of Marwin Gonzalez. Hard to believe that Valbuena was far superior as a hitter to Gonzalez coming into the season.

Had those two been productive there would be a real push to bench Albert, but instead all 3 have been equally awful.
   77. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:12 AM (#5501384)
I don't watch much of the AL West (though lately I've been tuning into Astros games more regularly, for obvious reasons), and hadn't realized just how bad Pujols has been this year. Good lord. That's barely above Jason Heyward ca. 2016-level offense, with none of the defensive or baserunning value, and Jason Heyward in 2016 was about as painful a hitter to watch as I can remember.

The Cardinals were really smart not to resign him (at the risk of stating the obvious); he put up a 148 OPS+ his last year in St. Louis, but it was a canary in a coal mine...25 point drop from the year before, and still 10 points better than his best year in Anaheim.
   78. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5501388)
Pujols now at 99.9 career WAR.
   79. SandyRiver Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:34 AM (#5501390)
Lower body injuries are killers. His feet problems have robbed him of a normal decline.


Or why Ortiz remained committed to his retirement plan, even while having his best season of his final 10. By late last season he could barely run at all.

Incidentally, he's one of a group of hitters whose offensive profiles changed around 2010, specifically w/ regard to BB and K rates


Oddly, Papi's K-rate bucked that trend, dropping to about half what it had been during his wrist-injury downturn years (2008-09 and early 10.)

Hit .323/.431/.599 in 334 post-season PAs. Compare that to post-season god David Ortiz - .289/.404/.543 in 369 PA.


Pujols was much the better hitter, in-season and postseason. His PS OPS, like Ortiz', is pretty close to his pre-decline in-season OPS. However, for this Bosox fanboy, Ortiz' "narrative" PS moments top even Albert's considerable collection.
   80. The Good Face Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:59 AM (#5501408)
Albert's decline (ages 31-36) is still 20 WAR. There's nothing particularly impressive about that but neither is it in the least atrocious. It's the same as Reggie and Alomar. It's a little better than Mantle (playing time). It's better than Ortiz, Raines and Thomas. It's 1 WAR shy of Ripken and Yaz. It's 2 shy of Gwynn, 3 shy of McCovey. It's way ahead of Griffey and Banks.

For sure, except for Griffey, Mantle and Ripken (and maybe Yaz and Banks), those are a lower-class of HoFer than we might have expected Albert to hang with but it's hardly a bad class of ballplayer.


Some useful perspective here. Very few players, even great ones, are anywhere near as valuable in their 30s as they are in their 20s. I suppose if the Angels are willing to keep running Pujols out there for 4 more years (and he can't rebound at all), his decline might be historically craptastic, but I just don't see that happening.
   81. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:04 AM (#5501412)
I'm just sick of Thomas' hitting peak getting slagged.


But this is what I don't get. WAR isn't just about hitting, so why would you think I was using WAR in order to be critical of Thomas' hitting? Anyone who has spent five minutes a B-R knows Pujols' WAR advantage comes from things like defense, baserunning, and positional adjustments.

The original question I was responding to was: Is it possible that Pujols isn't elected on the first ballot?

When I asked why they wouldn't vote for a well-liked 3-time MVP and four-time runner-up who is going to finish his career with ~3,000 hits, 600+ HR, ~2,000 RBI, great postseason numbers, and two rings, the response I got was: Look at Frank Thomas' decline compared to his. I mean, I simply could have reiterated my question as a response, but I didn't want to look like I was dodging their point


   82. Rally Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:14 AM (#5501422)
No matter how many horrible at bats the Angels allow him to take from here on out, I think there are only 2 ways Albert can avoid being a first ballot HOFer:

1. The Pete Rose way
2. The Rafael Palmeiro way
   83. DavidFoss Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5501435)
A lot of great players don't make it to age 37. Mantle, Mathews, DiMaggio, Bench were done. Gehrig may be a special case, but he was still done. Foxx was pitching for the Phillies during the war. Hornsby was playing 20% of the time and would never play more than that as a manager-PH. Ott hit his last HR on opening day, got hurt in game 2 and then as player-manager turned himself into primarily in to a PH for the rest of his career.

There's a lot more. Rice & Cepeda were done. Dick Allen, too. It was Yount & Bagwell's last season. Sisler, too, and he had been playing with blurred vision for years. 37 year old can't play baseball anymore is not really all that notable of a story.
   84. Rally Posted: July 28, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5501463)
37 year old can't play baseball anymore is not really all that notable of a story.


True. The notable part is that all the others mentioned didn't have 4 years with big money remaining on their contracts.

A-Rod is probably the only comp on that level. At 37 he was hurt most of the year but when he played was better than Pujols, 113 OPS+ while still handling third base. For the last 4 years he had one suspension, one surprisingly good comeback year, one awful year, and one year the Yankees paid him not to play.
   85. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 28, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5501464)
But Buckner was never all that good to begin with.

Perhaps not by contemporary filters like WAR, OPS+, etc, but at the time I think he was perceived not as an A-List first baseman, but a solid B-List one (only 1 All-Star Game appearance but 5 seasons with MVP votes finishing as high as 10th twice). He had a couple of 200-hit seasons including his age-35 year, three 100-RBI seasons including his age-36 year, seven seasons hitting .300 including a batting title, and hit .299 as late as that age-35 season. The only thing separating him from real stardom in the 70's and 80's was 10-15 HR a year. Yeah, that's a lot, but the rest of the "star" narrative for that time was there. We can look back now and say he wasn't very valuable, but I have no problem believing GM's at the end of his career thought they might be able to get a dead cat bounce season out of him.
   86. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 28, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5501494)
My memory of Buckner starts with the WS game, so a couple of things surprised me in scanning his bb-ref page. One, he had 183 steals - more than Frank White, Luke Appling, Tony Phillips, and some others that had long careers and were probably considered faster. He actually went 18 for 22 for steals in his age-35 season, which was a very good season under traditional metrics as noted above. Second, he was a four-decade player by the slimmest margin possible. He had one PA in 1969, when he was 19. He had 48 PAs in 1990, when he was 40. The last season was actually with Boston. Given everything that had happened, I'm surprised they brought him back.
   87. Rally Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5501532)
We can look back now and say he wasn't very valuable, but I have no problem believing GM's at the end of his career thought they might be able to get a dead cat bounce season out of him.


I don't think anyone expected much out of Buckner after 1986. He was a part time player. He was used quite a bit as a pinch hitter (104 of his 256 career PA as a PH came after 1986), and looking at his splits, did a fairly good job pinch hitting.

Back then it was common, even for AL teams, to have an experienced batter like that on hand to pinch hit in the right situation. You don't see it too much anymore since those roster spots go to the 8th and 9th men out of the bullpen.
   88. Hank G. Posted: July 28, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5501559)
Ted Simmons ruined his hall of fame chances with many seasons of terrible performance


So did Duane Kuiper.
   89. bfan Posted: July 28, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5501608)
He actually went 18 for 22 for steals in his age-35 season


funny how seasons like this will pop up; Lance Berkman (a/k/a "Fat Elvis") was 18-22 in SB at age 32.
   90. BDC Posted: July 28, 2017 at 02:20 PM (#5501614)
Johnny Bench went 24-for-26 stealing bases for the 1975-76 Reds, as if that team wasn't strong enough already.
   91. You're a clown, RMc! I'm tired of it! Posted: July 28, 2017 at 02:22 PM (#5501617)
So I ask again - who doesn't vote for the guy?


"Ah don't votes fer nobody on the furst dang ballot! I don' care if he was Jesus H. Christ, y'hear...?!" PTUI!
   92. bfan Posted: July 28, 2017 at 02:22 PM (#5501618)
Johnny Bench went 24-for-26 stealing bases for the 1975-76 Reds, as if that team wasn't strong enough already.


Mostly because he didn't have to run on Johnny Bench.
   93. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 28, 2017 at 02:56 PM (#5501641)
Carlton Fisk went 17 for 19 as a 34 YO, and 7 for 9 as a 42 year old. From ages 41-45, Fisk went 12 for 16.
   94. phredbird Posted: July 28, 2017 at 03:07 PM (#5501651)
this has been an interesting thread, which i don't see much on BTF anymore.

obviously, i was always a big fan of albert. i practically worshipped him as a cardinal.

but quietly, to myself, i have also always wondered about his age.

i've seen and read many convincing arguments that are on the side of his age being accurate. and post 83 makes an eloquent point.

but let me put it this way: if it turns out he was older, well, i would not be surprised that somehow it never came out.

the cardinal org making what looks in hindsight like a half hearted effort to keep him in 2011 also looks funny. they had complete deniability on the money front, but still ... maybe they knew something.

that said, if he's really 39 or 40 right now, then he's doing a helluva job for a player that age, isn't he?

btw, i'm going to an angels game in august, so i guess i'll get one more look at him. but i'm way more excited about seeing trout.

   95. Mefisto Posted: July 28, 2017 at 03:23 PM (#5501658)
Willie Mays was 23/25 in SB in his age 40 season.
   96. DanG Posted: July 28, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5501677)
Davey Lopes was 47/51 in SB in his age 40 season.

And Rickey! was 66/79 at age 39.
   97. Rally Posted: July 28, 2017 at 04:02 PM (#5501698)
If Pujols is really 40, then his decline phase makes more sense. But that means a 23 year old, about to turn into an alltime great, hit only 17 homers against Midwest league pitching in 2000.

His sudden improvement from 2000-2001 makes more sense if he was 20-21. But who knows? Jose Bautista had his year of sudden improvement at age 29, and now we have about 2 dozen players figuring out how to improve the launch angle every year, or at least it seems.
   98. cardsfanboy Posted: July 28, 2017 at 04:11 PM (#5501706)
the cardinal org making what looks in hindsight like a half hearted effort to keep him in 2011 also looks funny. they had complete deniability on the money front, but still ... maybe they knew something.



I can't see how it was half hearted.... They had what they thought was a reasonable money amount(10 year 185 mil), added another 25mil because of his record with the team, and had the second best offer behind Miami, until Pujols begged the Angels to sign him(because he was going to sign with Miami if not, and he didn't want to do that).

Sticking to your guns on an offer that by your reckoning is better than you should offer, is not a half-hearted effort.
   99. The Good Face Posted: July 28, 2017 at 05:28 PM (#5501777)
I don't see any reason to think he's older than his stated age, at least not based on his decline phase. Plenty of great players were essentially done at 37, and Pujols has suffered from chronic foot problems for years.
   100. Tony S Posted: July 28, 2017 at 05:41 PM (#5501787)
I can't see how it was half hearted.... They had what they thought was a reasonable money amount(10 year 185 mil), added another 25mil because of his record with the team, and had the second best offer behind Miami, until Pujols begged the Angels to sign him(because he was going to sign with Miami if not, and he didn't want to do that).


I don't quite remember the whole story, but if he didn't want to sign with Miami... all he had to do was not sign with Miami. It's not like he was bereft of the lucrative alternative of remaining with his native organization.
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