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Monday, November 21, 2011

Baseball Nation: How Old is Albert Pujols?

Jason: Let’s debate.

Resolved: Albert Pujols is not 31 years old.

Rob: I’m not sure who you would debate with!

Jason: Well, let’s kick it around, anyway. I’ll argue the affirmative, and you play Devil’s Advocate. (Literally, Satan’s lawyer!) Okay?

Rob: Sure.

Before the trees were trees and the rocks were rocks, Albert was Albert.

Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:53 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, online, rumors

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. phredbird Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:13 PM (#3998891)
*putting fingers in ears*

LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#3998914)
Older than than Justin Bieber, not as old as Larry King.
   3. Greg K Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM (#3998930)
I don't quite understand how Pujols not being a touted prospect is evidence that he's older than advertised.
   4. Morty Causa Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3998935)
No one from Latin America coming to the USA is the age claimed..You heard of "diploma mills"? Mexico on down, the dark factories of Sauron burn day and night putting out birth certificates and other necessary "official" documents.
   5. McCoy Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:03 PM (#3998946)
I can just see future attempts at page hits now.

Jason: Let's debate.

Resolved: Coloreds do not have the mental acuity to be general managers.

Rob: I’m not sure who you would debate with!

Jason: Well, let’s kick it around, anyway. I’ll argue the affirmative, and you play Devil’s Advocate. (Literally, Satan’s lawyer!) Okay?

Rob: Sure.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:06 PM (#3998950)
I don't quite understand how Pujols not being a touted prospect is evidence that he's older than advertised.


The article explains it a little. Basically the thinking is Pujols wasn't a touted prospect despite great performance in HS and JuCo, because scouts thought they were watching a man competing against boys and not simply the best of his peers.
   7. CraigK Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:07 PM (#3998951)
Birth CERTiFicT Where PUJOLS Whe
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:11 PM (#3998952)
Can't we just saw him in half and count his rings?
   9. Meramec Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:12 PM (#3998953)
Pujols became a US citizen in 2007. It's unlikely that he could do that with forged records. If he is older than he claims, then the Cardinals must know about it. And if that is the case, I'm not sure what to think. Do they have a responsibility to tell everyone how old he really is, or can he continue to lie about his age because that's not really any of our business? But, Rob makes the interesting point that the Cardinals hesitant offer towards Pujols this offseason may hint that they think he is older than 31.
   10. CraigK Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#3998955)
Stephen Strasburg was surprisingly fully formed when he was drafted. Are we sure he's not 37?
   11. CraigK Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:15 PM (#3998957)
Evan Longoria was also really good in his rookie season at "22".
   12. CraigK Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM (#3998959)
Saying that somebody's age is false because they a) came out of nowhere to be really, really good and b) are of the "brown" persuasion and thus have falsified records is idiotic.

BREAKING NEWS: Sometimes, players come up that are mostly completely fully formed at 20. It happens, just like those guys who get drafted 599th overall, bounce around seven different systems, and finally put it together at 27.

Or, in other words, congratulations on the Blue Jays for locking up a 25-year-old Jose Bautista for five years.
   13. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:31 PM (#3998967)
Resolved: Coloreds do not have the mental acuity to be general managers.

Rob: I’m not sure who you would debate with!


Al Campanis?
   14. asdf1234 Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#3998971)
Now I'm going to have to deny SBNation hits by boycotting VEB for a week.
   15. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:39 PM (#3998972)
Albert Pujols is as old as his tongue, and a little older than his teeth. I believe. I believe. I believe.
   16. CraigK Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:42 PM (#3998974)
Now I'm going to have to deny SBNation hits by boycotting VEB for a week.


It's not VEB; it's SBNation's main general baseball offshoot that nobody reads.
   17. Baldrick Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:49 PM (#3998979)
Can't we just saw him in half and count his rings?

No need, he's got two.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#3998980)
Brannon makes a good point in the piece, that scouts may have discounted Pujols' performance in high school and junior college because they thought they were watching an older guy compete against boys. They thought, well, a 20-year-old ought to be able to destroy 16- and 17-year-old pitching, and therefore weren't impressed by it.

But that's not the same thing as saying Pujols is older than advertised; it's saying that more than a decade ago, some scouts may have thought Pujols was older than advertised. The fact that Pujols has gone on to destroy 24- and 25- and 27- and 32-year-old pitching would tend to reinforce the idea that he was the age he claimed, not contradict it.

Personally, I'd just ask Albert's first major league manager, Solly Hemus.
   19. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2011 at 12:02 AM (#3998989)
Well, if a reporter really were interested in the question enough to do his job it should be easy. Ask Pujols where he went to school, check and see where that was and how old he was. Find out who he went to school with, interview them. Etc. Confirm with church records and other public records if necessary or desired. This shouldn't be that hard.
   20. esseff Posted: November 22, 2011 at 12:07 AM (#3998991)
I'd say there is much circumstantial evidence that Pujols is his stated age.

In how he was raised in the Dominican: the youngest in an extended family of 12.

In how he was documented in the U.S.: as a face in the crowd signing up for high school (not as a baseball whiz trying to impress a pro organization).

In how he developed: He would be an anomaly among baseball's historically great hitters if he were not ready to break through at age 20 or 21.
   21. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 12:12 AM (#3998994)
I'd say there is much circumstantial evidence that Pujols is his stated age.

In how he was raised in the Dominican: the youngest in an extended family of 12.


To play devil's advocate for a moment, how is that evidence? All it says is that there was someone of that age. It could just as easily be that one of the older brothers took the name of the youngest brother in order to seem younger.

In how he developed: He would be an anomaly among baseball's historically great hitters if he were not ready to break through at age 20 or 21.


Pujols is an anomaly no matter how you look at him. You don't get to be that great without being different.
   22. esseff Posted: November 22, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#3999011)
To play devil's advocate for a moment, how is that evidence? All it says is that there was someone of that age. It could just as easily be that one of the older brothers took the name of the youngest brother in order to seem younger.


First, it was extended family; I don't know how many actual brothers are involved. Beyond that, it's just another circumstantial piece. What would be the reason for switching identities -- again Pujols was documented in the U.S. long before he was a baseball prospect -- and how would you keep a potentially valuable secret hushed up among that many people (including all those who knew that family)?
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: November 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM (#3999025)
Saying that somebody's age is false because they a) came out of nowhere to be really, really good and b) are of the "brown" persuasion and thus have falsified records is idiotic.


There are more reasons to claim Pujols age is false than just those. He came from a country where many baseball players fudged their birth-date. This is not just paranoia, or rumor; there are lots of confirmed age-changes. He also didn't appear to change physically all that much, which is uncommon for his listed ages.
   24. danup Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#3999048)
I'm really surprised to hear someone thinks he didn't change physically all that much—the tree-trunk Albert Pujols of today, looks, at least to me, much broader-shouldered than the Albert Pujols who started every day at third base in 2001, not to mention heavier. His swing's also significantly different.

So far, the evidence that's been presented to me that Albert Pujols is older than he says he is is this:

1. He's from a place where people have falsified their birth certificates.
2. His wife is older than he is.
3. He was really good when he was 21, and not widely scouted enough when he was 18.
4. Hair-loss-wise, he was pretty genetically unlucky, whether he came up at 21 or 23.
5. Dan LeBatard says he has this friend—in Canada, you don't know him—who totally knows that Albert Pujols is 33.

Albert Pujols might well be 33—his marriage is "suspicious", if you want to look at it like that, and he's from a place where it happens. But this isn't a case where we've gotten more evidence to that effect over the years, it's just a case in which the people who believe it, after shutting up for a few years, have gotten louder again. In the absence of some insider or hanger-on willing to leak the actual reasons they believe what they leave, columns like LeBatard's and thought exercises like this one are (unsurprisingly) pointless.
   25. Tricky Dick Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:34 AM (#3999050)
What would be the reason for switching identities -- again Pujols was documented in the U.S. long before he was a baseball prospect -- and how would you keep a potentially valuable secret hushed up among that many people (including all those who knew that family)?

The article attempts to address the motive.

Pujols was reportedly 16 when his family came to the United States. Had he been 17 (or 18, or 20), he would have been ineligible to attend high school (or play high school baseball). This seems like an obvious motive.


The article repeats the claims that Pujols' age discrepancy was "an open secret" in his high school area.

That said, I don't find the claim that Pujols is older than reported to be very persuasive. It's possible, but most of the evidence for that position is speculation.
   26. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:47 AM (#3999056)
There are more reasons to claim Pujols age is false than just those. He came from a country where many baseball players fudged their birth-date. This is not just paranoia, or rumor; there are lots of confirmed age-changes.

But the other Dominican age-falsifiers all fit the same pattern: they were teenage prospects who faked their ages and sometimes identities to make themselves more attractive to the MLB teams that sign teenage Dominicans as undrafted free agents. As #22 points out, Pujols came to the US and had his age pinned down well before he was identified as any kind of prospect. It seems implausible that he or his relatives would go to this trouble (and not inconsiderable risk) on the mere chance that young "Albert" might turn into a prospect later.
   27. John DiFool2 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:49 AM (#3999058)
I say cut him in half and count the rings-only way to be sure.
   28. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:57 AM (#3999062)
I say cut him in half and count the ringzzz-only way to be sure.


Fixed that for you.
   29. OCD SS Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#3999064)
Albert Pujols might well be 33—his marriage is "suspicious", if you want to look at it like that, and he's from a place where it happens.


Unlike this, just ask Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
   30. esseff Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:13 AM (#3999069)
Pujols was reportedly 16 when his family came to the United States. Had he been 17 (or 18, or 20), he would have been ineligible to attend high school (or play high school baseball).


Is this true? A kid coming to the U.S. at age 17 or 18 isn't allowed to enroll in a public high school? I'm no expert, but that doesn't sound right. Now, maybe he wouldn't be accepted at 20.
   31. Magnum RA Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:57 AM (#3999087)
He's been lying about his name for years.
   32. Gamingboy Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:48 AM (#3999127)
Julio Franco swears that Albert Pujols was not a teammate of his on the Bedrock Boulders.
   33. Ron J Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:54 AM (#3999131)
#30 As I understand it, age is a serious issue in school athletics. I remember reading that some parents would have their kids failed. A really big issue in Texas high school football as I recall it.

There's no age restrictions on high school entry itself that I'm aware of.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:54 AM (#3999132)
Pujols was reportedly 16 when his family came to the United States. Had he been 17 (or 18, or 20), he would have been ineligible to attend high school (or play high school baseball).

Is this true? A kid coming to the U.S. at age 17 or 18 isn't allowed to enroll in a public high school? I'm no expert, but that doesn't sound right. Now, maybe he wouldn't be accepted at 20.


An 18 y.o. is probably allowed to enroll as a senior. Most schools kick you out when you turn 20, and you have to do a GED, IIRC.

He may have misstated his age for totally innocuous reasons. If he was 18, but behind American HS seniors, and his family wanted him to graduate HS, and maybe go to college, they may have claimed he was 16 to give him a better chance.
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:23 AM (#3999156)

The article repeats the claims that Pujols' age discrepancy was "an open secret" in his high school area.


IIRC, it was also challenged many times in high school and Pujols was able to provide the necessary documentation.
   36. Tricky Dick Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:29 AM (#3999161)
A really big issue in Texas high school football as I recall it.

I don't know what the rule was in Pujols' case, but in Texas you cannot participate in interscholastic sports if you are 19 years old on Sept. 1 of the current year. Until recently, the age limit on entering high school was 20 years old.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: November 22, 2011 at 05:45 AM (#3999243)
I don't care how old he was, who were these moronic scouts who couldn't recognize the skill set of a guy who would put up a 170 OPS+ in the majors? Can we reopen that whole scouts vs. statheads debate?

By the way, say Albert really is 33 -- he has the highest age 23-33 OPS+ in the expansion era, beating out Bonds by a point. Among the guys with a 160 or better, they started at ages 21, 22, 20, 20 and 21 so Pujols is not unusual in that regard and all except for Bonds were pretty awesome at 21. Looking at how those 5 did from age 34+:

Bonds: 4500 PA, 214 OPS+
Thomas: 3200 PA, 131 OPS+
Robinson: 2900 PA, 145 OPS+
Aaron: 4700 PA, 150 OPS+
McCovey: 3400 PA, 123 OPS+

Pujols is DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED.
   38. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 06:53 AM (#3999271)
I don't care how old he was, who were these moronic scouts who couldn't recognize the skill set of a guy who would put up a 170 OPS+ in the majors? Can we reopen that whole scouts vs. statheads debate?


You think you could could tell a guy was a future MLB star by watching him hit against HS and JUCO pitching in western Missouri? It ain't that easy. Projecting hitting talent when your hitting prospect isn't facing real pitching has to be the hardest evaluation job in sports.

You don't know if he can hit a 90 mph fastball, because he doesn't see one. You don't know if he can hit good breaking stuff, because he doesn't see it. And you probably don't even get to see him swing that much because, as the only elite hitter in 100 miles, he probably gets walked half the time.

And if everyone says this 18 year old is actually 20? Then it just gets harder.

High draft picks who don't face good competition are almost always very athletic, five-tool guys, because it is easier to see a guy with speed and an arm and project them to play premium defensive positions and hope the bat is real too. It isn't as easy with a guy whose best tools are power and hit.

And the stats vs scouts thing is irrelevant, because it isn't like his HS or JUCO stats are going to tell you anything about his ability to hit major league pitching.

Yeah, letting Pujols fall so far was a major draft blunder on everyone's part, but that doesn't mean that a scout who saw Albert and didn't think he had a high ceiling was a moron. The fact that everyone missed on him is proof of that. Unless of course you actually believe that none of the dozens of baseball lifers that watched him know how to evaluate a baseball player, which would a pretty moronic thing to believe.
   39. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:09 AM (#3999278)
You think you could could tell a guy was a future MLB star by watching him hit against HS and JUCO pitching in western Missouri?

Doesn't have to be a future star to make him worth a fifth round pick in 1998. Doesn't have to be much of anything.

High draft picks who don't face good competition are almost always very athletic, five-tool guys, because it is easier to see a guy with speed and an arm and project them to play premium defensive positions and hope the bat is real too. It isn't as easy with a guy whose best tools are power and hit.

You just explained the thinking behind the Moneyball draft.

I had assumed that teams had figured out they needed to make some improvements, but after the amateur scouts missed Freese a number of times, I'm skeptical again.
   40. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:16 AM (#3999279)
You just explained the reason for the Moneyball draft.


And 4 of the 5 best and 7 of the 10 best first round picks (by WAR) from the "Moneyball draft" were high school kids.

The "draft college kids with stats!" thing is a tired, dead horse that has been beaten 1,000 times. Its been proven wrong over and over. No need to bring it up again.

I had assumed that teams had figured out they needed to make some improvements, but after the amateur scouts missed Freese a number of times, I'm skeptical again.


Do you really think its that easy? Do you actually expect it to be possible to create a fool-proof system for evaluating thousands of different amateur players ranging in age from 17 to 23 and properly ordering and selecting them?

Doesn't have to be a future star to make him worth a fifth round pick in 1998. Doesn't have to be much of anything.


Fine, if you want to be picayune I'll rephrase. "You think you could could tell a guy with an MLB future by watching him hit against HS and JUCO pitching in western Missouri?"

Same damn point.
   41. Matheny Hitting School and Investment Strategies Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:19 AM (#3999280)
I have it on good authority he was actually born in Kenya.
   42. Pawapuro Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3999314)
What Walt (#37) said.

PS - When Pujols had a rough time in June, I figured he was 33 after all. Then he turned it around, and now I'm comfortable with him being 31 again.
   43. OCD SS Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3999330)
By the way, say Albert really is 33 -- he has the highest age 23-33 OPS+ in the expansion era, beating out Bonds by a point. Among the guys with a 160 or better, they started at ages 21, 22, 20, 20 and 21 so Pujols is not unusual in that regard and all except for Bonds were pretty awesome at 21. Looking at how those 5 did from age 34+:


Isn't the point not what he has done, but how the age #### would change projections for him in his next, MLB record setting contract? Of the guys on your list, if you rule out Bonds (by reasons of chemistry), and assume a 10 year contract for Pujols you get the following breakdown:

Aaron and McCovey played until they were 42 and Robinson and Thomas played until they were 40. They all dwindled in effectiveness as they approached 40 to varying degrees, so it really looks to me that arguing about Pujols' age is a proxy argument about just how many seasons the team that signs him is going to have to eat at $30M (if we go by his own demands) in order to sign him.
   44. bunyon Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3999334)
I'm sure it would be insulting and so maybe a non-starter, but a team that was truly concerned could, quietly, insert language that stipulated the team could void the contract, perhaps even extracting a penalty, if proof surfaced that Pujols had misrepresented his age. If this were kept out of the media, Pujols need not lose face and, if he is the age he says he is (I think he is), he would have nothing to worry about in terms of losing money.

I'm sure he'll get paid handsomely without this language, so he probably wouldn't go for it.
   45. Ron J Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3999337)
#44 Color me doubtful that the league office would approve a contract with that kind of language in it.

On the other hand, I wonder about the possibility of a lawsuit by the team signing Pujols if such proof did in fact surface (color me doubtful -- this kind of secret is tough to keep).
   46. Greg K Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3999338)
I'm sure he'll get paid handsomely without this language, so he probably wouldn't go for it.

If I'm Pujols and I can get a team to throw in an extra few million in exhcange for a void clause I know for a fact is never going to be exercised I'd say, yes please!

(Of course this assumes he's not lying, which I'm going to stick with until there's some kind of evidence to doubt him)
   47. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3999342)
I've talked to an agent who represented a lot of DR players and changing their identities to make themselves appear younger was ubiquitous. From our conversations I know there's at least one guy still going by his phony identity in MLB and I'm sure he can't be the only one.
   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3999348)

IIRC, it was also challenged many times in high school and Pujols was able to provide the necessary documentation.


If he was using his younger brother's identity, that would be pathetically easy.

How the hell could you distinguish two brothers based on birth records?
   49. OsunaSakata Posted: November 22, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3999364)
The Moneyball draft philosophy doesn't pick college players because they will necessarily be better major leaguers than high school players, but because they are more accurately evaulated.
   50. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3999368)
If I'm Pujols and I can get a team to throw in an extra few million in exhcange for a void clause I know for a fact is never going to be exercised I'd say, yes please!


I'm not sure a team needs to add a void clause if they find that Pujols has been faking his name and/or age. Amateur signing bonuses from the Dominican are often voided after identity and age falsification is revealed, without the presence (to my knowledge) of any specific clause permitting this. Now, I realize a free agent contract would be different, since the player is a union member but (note: not a lawyer) isn't entering into a contract with fraudulent information sufficient grounds for a contract to be voided anyway, on contract law grounds?

Lawyers?
   51. KT's Pot Arb Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3999369)
#44 Color me doubtful that the league office would approve a contract with that kind of language in it.


Color me doubtful that this type of language isn't standard in league contracts.
   52. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3999375)
The Moneyball draft philosophy doesn't pick college players because they will necessarily be better major leaguers than high school players, but because they are more accurately evaulated.


Accurate evaluation and better major leaguers are the same goal. You don't select someone who you are sure will not be a good major leaguer simply because you think he has been more accurately evaluated.
   53. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3999378)
How the hell could you distinguish two brothers based on birth records?


The Feds seem to sort it out often enough don't they? How many times has a Dominican teenager showed up to spring training with a new name and a different, older age?
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3999389)
The Feds seem to sort it out often enough don't they? How many times has a Dominican teenager showed up to spring training with a new name and a different, older age?

Since the last names are changing, I'm guessing the fake ID wasn't his brother. Non-siblings would be easier to sort out; different addresses, schools, etc.

But, if you had two brothers who were 2-3 years apart, baptized in the same Church, always lived in the same house, went to the same schools, etc., I can't imagine what documentary evidence there would be before age 16-18 to sort them out.

Even a driver's license or passport might not be enough if they look similar, or the pictures were old, e.g. a passport issued at age 5 isn't going to help you distinguish a 16 y.o. and an 18 y.o.

Again, not saying Pujols did or didn't switch IDs, just that he could have, and it would be very hard to tell.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3999402)
I have to agree with Snapper, not that I think Pujols is older than his listed age, but that it is likely nearly impossible to distinguish two brothers from the same household that are within a year or two in age.
   56. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#3999406)
Since the last names are changing, I'm guessing the fake ID wasn't his brother. Non-siblings would be easier to sort out; different addresses, schools, etc.


TONS of Dominicans have siblings with different last names, and I'm sure many of the guys who have taken their cousin's birth certificate went to the same school and church as their cousin.

I have to agree with Snapper, not that I think Pujols is older than his listed age, but that it is likely nearly impossible to distinguish two brothers from the same household that are within a year or two in age.


You guys are making me wonder how these guys are ever busted to begin with.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3999409)

You guys are making me wonder how these guys are ever busted to begin with.


same way anyone else is busted, loose lips, mistakes etc.
   58. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3999411)
Pujols became a US citizen in 2007. It's unlikely that he could do that with forged records.

No one cares about the above? I'm not sure how this debate exists unless you believe the government is THAT incompetent.
   59. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3999417)
No one cares about the above? I'm not sure how this debate exists unless you believe the government is THAT incompetent.

Yeah. Pujols getting citizenship makes me think he is who he says he is.
   60. Swedish Chef Posted: November 22, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3999429)
What the hell is this, are there really that many Birthers looking for a new cause around here?
   61. spike Posted: November 22, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3999437)
That Pujols was willing to risk so much on the citizenship process makes it awfully hard for me to put him on a bluff.
   62. bunyon Posted: November 22, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3999443)
Pujols became a US citizen in 2007. It's unlikely that he could do that with forged records.

No one cares about the above? I'm not sure how this debate exists unless you believe the government is THAT incompetent.


I'm probably in the minority but, yes, I do think the government is that incompetent. Especially ICE.


That Pujols was willing to risk so much on the citizenship process makes it awfully hard for me to put him on a bluff.

However, I also agree with this. It's one thing for me to sit in my office and say I think they're incompetent. It would be quite another to risk millions of dollars and much humiliation on that opinion.
   63. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3999501)
What the hell is this, are there really that many Birthers looking for a new cause around here?


What the heck does this have to do with birthers? Nothing.

Dominican baseball players using birth certificates that are not their own to play baseball, and often not getting caught for quite some time, is pretty common, factually supported occurrence. You don't need to believe some Glen Beck fairy tale to realize that it happens all the time.

Now, I don't think Pujols is faking it, but bringing up birthers is a pretty irrelevant, stupid comparison.
   64. Swedish Chef Posted: November 22, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3999524)
What the heck does this have to do with birthers? Nothing.

Why not? If the fact that Pujols is Dominican is evidence that he faked his age, the fact that people are questioning his origins should be perfectly fine evidence that they are Birthers. I'm just playing by the standards of this thread.
   65. jayjay Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3999570)
31 versus 33.... let's just compromise, say 32, and move on.
   66. SouthSideRyan Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:00 PM (#3999591)
Doesn't seem like it would be hard to track down one of those guys that knew about the "open secret" back from the high school days.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3999593)
You think you could could tell a guy was a future MLB star by watching him hit against HS and JUCO pitching in western Missouri? It ain't that easy.

1. Sheesh, dude, learn to take a joke.

2. No I don't think it's easy which is why I think scouts are damn near useless. If all they can do is identify the Griffeys and ARODs with any accuracy, they're not much use.

You are claiming it is perfectly legitimate that professional baseball talent evaluators -- whose job is to assess the potential of high school and JUCO players -- could not tell the difference between one of the top 10 hitters of all-time and possibly the best hitter of the last 40 years and a regular 13th round pick.

You don't need a scout to find the 5-tool guys, I can do that. All you need is a radar gun to find the guys who throw 93+. The scouts are supposed to help you distinguish among all those guys.

I'm not suggesting they should have known Pujols would be such a great hitter but that it should have been "obvious" that he had an excellent chance to be an ML-quality hitter. Given the low return on later round draft choices, a scout should have been able to at least tout him for a 2nd/3rd/4th round pick. (Other "recent" 13th round picks of note -- Juan Pierre, Brad Wilkerson, Carl Pavano, Gary Matthews Jr.)

Accurate evaluation and better major leaguers are the same goal.

Not exactly. Accuracy incorporates variance/risk. Standard low risk/return vs. high risk/return.

Isn't the point not what he has done, but how the age #### would change projections for him in his next, MLB record setting contract?

Sure. If Pujols will be 32 and you give him a 10-year contract, you're not the brightest GM on the block. If he's really 34, and you know it, and you give him a 10-year contract, you're an idiot.

Or no ... the point is that people around here keep talking about the iron law of mid-30s decline as if Pujols will be putting up 115 OPS+ soon and I keep pointing out it doesn't hold for great hitters. (Playing time decline might) Even if he is 2 years older than he claims, we should expect him to continue to hit at an elite level until about age 40.

By the way, minor correction. If really aged 23-33, Pujols would be 2nd to Bonds in the expansion era. My earlier number was Pujols OPS+ from 23-31 (forgot to do a separate search). Pujols is #1 in OPS+ age 21-31 in the expansion era.
   68. Swedish Chef Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#3999607)
2. No I don't think it's easy which is why I think scouts are damn near useless. If all they can do is identify the Griffeys and ARODs with any accuracy, they're not much use.

Then you will have to explain how most of the talents are identified and taken in the first round if scouts bring nothing to the table.
   69. Toolsy McClutch Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:13 PM (#3999733)
Yeah, I gotta disagree with Walt a bit here. I'm not involved in the game, but scouts can see if a "prospect" has correctable errors - say path to the ball in the OF, as opposed to non-correctable errors - say lack of foot speed. There are so many wrinkles on why a guy is good or bad in a certain area, it's what makes the job so tough. It's the wrinkles that push a guy up/down a few spots or rounds.

I'm a stats guy, but if I was a GM I'd try to employ a large and seasoned scouting department.
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#3999761)
I'm probably in the minority but, yes, I do think the government is that incompetent. Especially ICE.

Concur. Immigration has shown no ability to stop anyone from doing anything.
   71. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:40 PM (#3999767)
Even a driver's license or passport might not be enough if they look similar, or the pictures were old, e.g. a passport issued at age 5 isn't going to help you distinguish a 16 y.o. and an 18 y.o.

There's also a socioeconomic snag with some players. Example: no photos of Mariano Rivera as a child exist, because his family couldn't afford a camera.
   72. bunyon Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:52 PM (#3999781)
There's also a socioeconomic snag with some players. Example: no photos of Mariano Rivera as a child exist, because his family couldn't afford a camera.

That, and the daguerrotype wasn't invented until the 1840s.
   73. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 22, 2011 at 11:10 PM (#3999796)
But I thought all the Dominicans proven to have lied about their age did it to immediately get signed by a scout? Are there any that lied about their age in order to emigrate to the US, play high school ball, and then get drafted? Since they want to avoid the draft, I bet it'd be hard to find a single example.

Pujols is Dominican, but he took a path no one else took.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 11:16 PM (#3999798)
But I thought all the Dominicans proven to have lied about their age did it to immediately get signed by a scout? Are there any that lied about their age in order to emigrate to the US, play high school ball, and then get drafted? Since they want to avoid the draft, I bet it'd be hard to find a single example.

Pujols is Dominican, but he took a path no one else took.


Maybe it wasn't all about baseball. What if he just wanted to go to HS? If he was 18, he'd have <2 years to graduate.

Call yourself 16, and you've got more time.
   75. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 11:30 PM (#3999813)
But I thought all the Dominicans proven to have lied about their age did it to immediately get signed by a scout? Are there any that lied about their age in order to emigrate to the US, play high school ball, and then get drafted? Since they want to avoid the draft, I bet it'd be hard to find a single example.


Danny Almonte? Kinda sorta?
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: November 23, 2011 at 03:49 AM (#3999923)
What the heck does this have to do with birthers? Nothing.

well, birthers by definition are ####### retards...therefore coming up with a new retarded theory is perfectly in line with their thinking.
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: November 23, 2011 at 03:53 AM (#3999924)
I'm a stats guy, but if I was a GM I'd try to employ a large and seasoned scouting department.


If you were a gm, contrary to the moneyball movie or book, you would be an idiot not to employ a large and seasoned scouting department.

Scouts are important no matter what some overhype machine tries to state, the argument is about their evaluation techniques that focus's on how they fit in jeans. Nobody with a lick of sense is saying, or will ever say scouts are unimportant.

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