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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cameron: Numbers don’t lie: The decline of Pujols is stunning

Pujol’s Pitch Black...

When the Detroit Tigers announced that they had signed Miguel Cabrera to an eight-year contract extension that didn’t even begin for another two years, the deal was immediately met with skepticism. The Tigers tacked on an additional $248 million in guaranteed money to lock up Cabrera’s age-33 to age-40 seasons, and the history of aging, super-sized, bat-only players is littered with disappointments. Exhibit A: Albert Pujols, who has been a severe disappointment since joining the Angels and would be my choice as the owner of the worst contract in baseball right now. The Pujols disaster is why so many of us—myself included—believe the Tigers might end up regretting the Cabrera extension.

But, at the same time, we should also acknowledge that the Pujols disaster is one of the most inexplicable anomalies in baseball history. There have been hitters as good as Albert Pujols before, but they generally haven’t declined nearly to the same degree that Pujols has since joining the Angels.

...What Pujols is now simply is not what he was a few years ago, and his contract is a giant red flag for any team thinking of entering into a long-term deal with a slugger on the wrong side of 30. However, for hitters who established themselves as elite, inner-circle Hall of Fame talents, this kind of early career collapse is basically unprecedented. It’s one thing when Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaughn, or Ryan Howard stop being productive in their early thirties, but those guys weren’t transcendent best-hitters-of-their-generation types. Pujols was that. Cabrera is that now. By and large, these guys keep hitting until their mid-thirties at least, and sometimes even into their late-thirties.

Pujols’ decline is absolutely not the norm. We’ve seen other great hitters get worse but remain highly productive, and we’ve seen lesser hitters become essentially unplayable, but Pujols’ fall from his lofty perch is a bit unprecedented. That doesn’t mean I’m now on board with the Tigers handing out $248 million for the right to watch Cabrera slow down, but we also shouldn’t lean on the Pujols example too heavily. Just like not every prospect is going to become Mike Trout, not every aging first baseman is going to become Albert Pujols.

Repoz Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:32 PM | 264 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, sabermetrics

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   1. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4683080)
didn't see him last year at all

but i watched most of the game sun (at someone's house with comcast) and didn't hardly recognise albert. he popped up stuff he used to KILL. even his liners didn't go real too far. he looks like this is his retirement year. he has just fallen offn a cliff like roberto alomar did
   2. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4683081)
It's perfectly easy to explain if you think of Pujols as being two or three years older than his officially listed age.
   3. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4683085)
he looks like this is his retirement year.
The Angels only have eight more years to go on the contract!

As a Mariners fan who has to contemplate one of the most dysfunctional front offices in all of baseball, very few things give me as much succor as the Pujols contract.
   4. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4683086)
192 (28 years old)
189
173
148
Angels
138
116 (33 years old)

mystery player 1:
155 (28 years old)
127
182
188
150
139(33 years old)
93

mystery player 2:
165
151
155
131
150
90 (33 years old)
95

Mystery player3:
193 (age 27)
171
136
177
113
118
139 (age 33)
140

   5. JRVJ Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4683087)
I remember how I thought Giambi should have retired in 2004, when his prodution cratered.

While he was never again the 2000/2001 Giambi, he managed to have very respectable OPS+ in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

I'm not done with Albert just yet.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 09, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4683088)
It's very early, but his walk rate continues to worsen. But...it's very early.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4683097)
It's perfectly easy to explain if you think of Pujols as being two or three years older than his officially listed age.


No, it's not. The vast majority of inner ring HOF level players didn't crater this dramatically at age 33 or or age 35.

Just as planes can't autonomously navigate themselves through navigational way points after a lithium battery fire in hold kills all aboard.

Just as all evidence is very clear that vaccinations have little to no relationship to autism rates.

Just as GW Bush (of all presidents! Bill Clinton, Nixon, maybe), can't pull off a world wide conspiracy requiring hundreds, if not thousands of co-conspirators, all to commit treason for no good reason (when he already controlled the worlds largest economy to use to reward his backers as he saw fit).

At least one day when Albert dies we'll finally be able to cut open one of those tree trunks he calls legs and count their rings to settle one of these controversies once and for all.
   8. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4683098)
Couple of walks and he crushed that homer last night. He still doesn't look healthy to me. Or he got old in a hurry.
   9. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4683103)
Looking at a list of players with >75 WAR by age 32 there aren't a lot of comps but they are there. Injuries were a big part of it but Griffey had one season >2.0 WAR after the age of 30. Mathews is the other one that jumped out at me, he was at 92 WAR through age 33 and fell apart dramatically the next three seasons.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4683104)
No, it's not. The vast majority of inner ring HOF level players didn't crater this dramatically at age 33 or or age 35.


Let's see how this year goes before we call it a crater, he was pretty hampered by his foot last year, should be somewhat better this year.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4683108)
I thought one of the mystery players might have been Shawn Green, but I was wrong.
   12. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4683109)
Or he gotten old in a hurry.

I'm not sure he's done yet, either. But why would this be surprising? I'm not saying it's the most likely outcome or predictable but there have been plenty of athletes age suddenly and extremely. No, not many of them were as good as Pujols was in his 20s. But, then, that's a small sample. You can take comparison players way too far. Just because Pujols spent 10 years looking like one of the best hitters ever doesn't mean he'll age exactly like all those guys. Not to mention he has lots of nagging ailments. It could simply be that his body is giving out. Wouldn't (or, shouldn't) be the biggest surprise ever.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4683115)
He is so sluggish now. It wasn't long ago that he was an aggressive and surprisingly fast base runner.
   14. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4683120)
One of those mystery players is The Beast. I thought one of the others was Boog Powell, but was wrong.

EDIT: Actually he may have just been known as "Beast". "The Beast" is better, so I'm sticking with that.
   15. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4683121)
Well since Cameron wrote this, there is hope yet for a vintage Pujols season. I predict he hits 3 homers tonight.
   16. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4683122)
i don't see why albert should have fallen off a cliff even if he WAS 2 years older than his stated age, which i STRONGLY disbelieve, just because of how and when he entered the country, where he went to HS for THREE???!!! years, went to some fer shtt community college - he would have done a LOT better staying in the DR with his cousin's identity, like the rest of the age frauds. he had NO reason to lie when he moved to freaking KANSAS, not exactly the center of the baseball universe

i am also pretty damm sure that this all got investigated during all the age-gate, visa stuff that went down a couple years back. nailing pujols for age fraud woulda been a real BIG story...
   17. GuyM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4683126)
I don't think Cameron's 8 comps make the point he wants to make here (i.e. that Albert's decline is very surprising, if not unprecedented). Basically, 4 of these 8 guys were big disappointments, producing far less value after age 31 than would be needed to justify Pujol's contract: Dick Allen (4 WAR), Foxx (10), Mantle (17), and Thomas (21). Two delivered reasonable value: Gehrig (30) and Hornsby (27). And two outperformed any reasonable expectation: Musial (47) and Speaker (52).

If you look only at age 32-33 performance, and look only at rate stats (while ignoring playing time), it looks like Pujols' decline is exceptional. But taking a larger view, it's really not that shocking.
   18. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4683130)
i don't see why albert should have fallen off a cliff even if he WAS 2 years older than his stated age, which i STRONGLY disbelieve, just because of how and when he entered the country, where he went to HS for THREE???!!! years, went to some fer shtt community college - he would have done a LOT better staying in the DR with his cousin's identity, like the rest of the age frauds. he had NO reason to lie when he moved to freaking KANSAS, not exactly the center of the baseball universe

i am also pretty damm sure that this all got investigated during all the age-gate, visa stuff that went down a couple years back. nailing pujols for age fraud woulda been a real BIG story...


BBC nails it, that accusation never made sense for Pujols. People just handwave away the high school thing- I mean, that's a realllllllllly long-game conspiracy if he was willing to go through all of that when he wasn't even a good prospect.
   19. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4683132)
People just handwave away the high school thing- I mean, that's a realllllllllly long-game conspiracy


Once his handlers saw that it worked, they upped the ante in order to put a certain Kenyan-born Socialist in the White House.
   20. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4683134)
ah seem to remember he said he would retire if he couldn't play up to expectations. will be interesting to see what he does if he is even worse this year than last. and yes he WAS an aggressive and excellent baserunner. and fielder
   21. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4683135)
BBC also nails it because it's unnecessary. The sort of health decline necessary isn't one that is common at 35 but unheard of at 32. People age differently. I have plenty of 32 year old friends who just got old all of a sudden. I have 50 something friends running marathons and triathlons. It's a distribution. Pujols may well be way the hell out at the right most tip of the gaussian curve of baseball talent and a little left of center in aging. Wouldn't be weird at all.

Of course, as everyone is saying, we're not even two weeks in. Let's give it a bit before we shoot him.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4683142)
Let's give it a bit before we shoot him.

I'm sure Arte Moreno would be thrilled if someone would shoot Pujols right now.
   23. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4683154)
Of course, as everyone is saying, we're not even two weeks in. Let's give it a bit before we shoot him.


This year. But the noticeable decline is obviously quite a bit more than two weeks old.
   24. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4683155)
losing it at Pujols' age used to happen more often, though, for ballplayers in GENERAL, right?

I mean, from reading Bill James in the 80s--though maybe I've just taken too much from the Dale Murphy example
.....but I remember thinking at several points in the last decade, "Wow, those older assumptions about aging are way outta date!"
   25. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4683158)
BBC nails it, that accusation never made sense for Pujols. People just handwave away the high school thing- I mean, that's a realllllllllly long-game conspiracy if he was willing to go through all of that when he wasn't even a good prospect.


It doesn't have to be a long-game conspiracy. The kid didn't know English when he came to Missouri. Why not go to high school and learn there if you want to make something for yourself? And get some exposure playing baseball as well, if you can get away with it? He was a helluva high school baseball player. He wasn't a big-time prospect because he didn't have that exposure and most people that saw him in Missouri thought he was a few years older than he claimed.

   26. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4683159)
This year. But the noticeable decline is obviously quite a bit more than two weeks old.

Oh, sure. I'm not predicting rebound to vintage Pujols. I'm saying there was some rational reason to think he'd be improved over last year this year. It's going to take more than a couple of weeks to check that. I also, more than most it seems, think this really may be the new Pujols. I hope not. But there are way too many ominous signs.
   27. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4683162)
BBC nails it, that accusation never made sense for Pujols. People just handwave away the high school thing- I mean, that's a realllllllllly long-game conspiracy if he was willing to go through all of that when he wasn't even a good prospect.



It doesn't have to be a long-game conspiracy. The kid didn't know English when he came to Missouri. Why not go to high school and learn there if you want to make something for yourself? And get some exposure playing baseball as well, if you can get away with it? He was a helluva high school baseball player. He wasn't a big-time prospect because he didn't have that exposure and most people that saw him in Missouri thought he was a few years older than he claimed.


Okay, but then find some actual evidence. Every other one of these that we know about unraveled as soon as someone did more than glance. Pujols has been around a long time. These allegations have been around a long time. It may not need to be a long-game conspiracy but it is certainly an unbelievably well executed one if he is, indeed, older than we think.
   28. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4683165)
how can you handwave away the hs/cc thing IF albert was any kind of prospect at ALL. what in the name of baseball could he have had as a motive? he didn't even go to a noted baseball high school, or try to play in some kind of age related league like danny almonte did.

i would REALLY like some sort of explanation that makes actual sense

sigh

the trouble with all those conspiracy theories is that don't none of them make any sense a tall. or give any sort of sensible motive (obama's mother wanted to get him on welfare? which didn't exist?) or even explain HOW it could actually be done. especially if it involves hundreds/thousands of people needing to keep mouth SHUT especially when a whole lot of riches are waiting for them if they talk. it is tough enough for TWO people to BOTH keep mouth shut. are not real too many people can keep a secret COMPLETELY secret
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4683186)
i would REALLY like some sort of explanation that makes actual sense

The perfectly benign explanation would be that Pujols hadn't gotten an education the the D.R., wanted one, and fudged his age so he could go to school in the US and not age out. It need not have anything to do with baseball.
   30. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4683195)
Just as all evidence is very clear that vaccinations have little to no relationship to autism rates.


The biggest risk factor for autism is having an autistic identical twin.

other risk factors include having a sibling being a science or engineering major (seriously)
if your mother experienced a hurricane while you were in utero...

Measles vaccines are NOT a risk factor.

Having an autistic fraternal twin means you have a 37% chance of being autistic, rising to over 80% if your identical twin is autistic, which would tend to indicate that autism is:
A: Largely genetic;
B: To the extent it is environmental- the environmental impact/cause is very early, likely before birth
   31. GuyM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4683198)
In addition to the objections raised by BBC, does anyone seriously think that the LAA didn't vet the sh!t out of Albert's age before handing him a 10-year $240M contract? C'mon.......
   32. thetailor Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4683206)
I'm not a conspiracy guy. Conspiracies are silly. But all the elements here are present for it to be possible, and many of the real life factors here point toward it being a logical explanation for his decline.

I understand the people saying that it's unlikely, but I don't understand the people acting borderline offended by the suggestion. I would not at all be surprised if Albert was older than advertised.
   33. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4683207)
More age fraud talk than steroid talk. Interesting.

Remember all the flap the White Sox got on this board for signing an old fart like Paul Konerko to a totally insane 4-year deal at age 34?

Part of Pujols statistical problem is he is playing in larger parks at sea level and only faces the cruddy Astros often instead of the cruddy Cubs, Pirates, and Astros 18 games per. I say this not to deny his faltering production, but to point out how inflated his production may have been back in the NL Central. Not facing Cubs pitching is going to worsen one's walk rate in itself.

They might need to switch him to full-time DH a couple years sooner than they expected, which is not a good sign.
   34. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4683215)
snapper
he would not have "aged out" at 18 or 19 because there are tons of kids that age still in skool - and even 20 now that it is trendy to hold back your male children from kindergarten until they are as close to 7 as possible. although it is unusual for 16 year old males who can't speak one word of english to come here to START school. i mean if they are poor and their future is roofing or flooring or gardening. and he HAD to already have had SOME education - it wasn't like he was starting kindergarten, 1st grade. even starting in 8th or 9th grade, he had to know how to read, at least in espagnol

and, even IF he had come to the US and lied about his age in order to go to hs for an EDUCATION and not baseball, the probability he would NOT have been caught in the age gate thingy is really REALLY small, especially as investigators were LOOKING for any evidence at ALL that he was older. but his father was known, and his birth info checked out.

(you don't think that there would have been folks in the DR eager to rat him out for $$$ if he had been lying? there wasn't much trouble catching the, shall we say, "cheaters" like wandy rodriguez. or leo nunez. or miguel teroider. or anyone else, for that matter. pujols would have been a SUPER catch)
   35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4683217)
i would REALLY like some sort of explanation that makes actual sense


I find it a little suspicious that his favorite show is Murder She Wrote.
   36. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4683218)
does anyone seriously think that the LAA didn't vet the sh!t out of Albert's age before handing him a 10-year $240M contract?


I do.

These are baseball owners, their egos are just as big as a player's. They're smart enough to get insurance policies on contracts like this so they are protected. But to claim these guys do due diligence is somewhat laughable seeing how often Don Fehr has make them look like the b00bs they usually are.
   37. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4683223)
tailor

would like to know how you think he managed to not get caught in agegate when reporters/customs/baseball execs were in the DR checking everyone out. NO ONE wanted to get $$$ for outing him? cmon

everyone else got caught by someone in the village ratting them out. and like i said, pujols father played and it is not like they moved all over the place. and no one has any idea who "albert pujols" really is. or an entire village/villages is paid off to keep quiet

plus, he HAD to have had some school in the DR in order to go into 9th grade in the US when he got here. there would be records from that too.

you don't think they have done DNA testing? cmon
   38. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4683224)
I find it a little suspicious that his favorite show is Murder She Wrote.


Awesome. This is my wife's favorite show and she is younger than even Pujols's "fake" age.
   39. DA Baracus Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4683226)
More age fraud talk than steroid talk. Interesting.


"He lied about his age" is more plausible than "he suddenly stopped taking steroids."
   40. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4683229)
I'm not offended by the suggestion, I just think it's as silly now as it was 5 or so years ago when I first read it here. There's no evidence of it, there have been several points at which it would have been examined closely, and there continues to be no evidence. Dude looked old at a young age. Check Lebron's birth certificate, too.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4683233)
Okay, but then find some actual evidence. Every other one of these that we know about unraveled as soon as someone did more than glance. Pujols has been around a long time. These allegations have been around a long time. It may not need to be a long-game conspiracy but it is certainly an unbelievably well executed one if he is, indeed, older than we think


Before the Cardinals signed Pujols to the extension they spent a ton of money researching his origins to get his "real" age and could find no evidence that his age was anything other than what he claimed.
   42. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4683237)
35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4683217)

i would REALLY like some sort of explanation that makes actual sense


I find it a little suspicious that his favorite show is Murder She Wrote


YEAH!!!

what on earth kind of machismo ballplayer would watch a show where the star is an old lady who doesn't carry a big ol gun shoot Bad Guys every episode, doesn't even know how to DRIVE, doesn't swear, is always looking for the cops instead of just dispensing Justice her own self. and nobody takes their clothes off. not even mostly undressed HOTTTTTTTT young guys as The Sheriff or boobular stick skinny blonds as The Sidekick
   43. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4683247)
Let's see how this year goes before we call it a crater, he was pretty hampered by his foot last year, should be somewhat better this year.


No, no no let's all jump to conclusions

from 28-31 Pujols had a 176 OPS+
from 28-31 (within 10 of 176):
Mark McGwire 183 (put up a 216 at age 34)
Rogers Hornsby 183 (put up a 96 in 120 PAs at age 34, rebounded to hit 163 the next year)
Jason Giambi 177 (plummeted to 90 at age 33, then 161 & 148 the next 2 years)
Willie McCovey 177 (Put up a 102 at age 34, then rebounded to 162, 164)
Nap Lajoie 177 (151 at 34, 199 at 35...)
Miguel Cabrera 176 (?)
Albert Pujols 176
Frank Robinson 173 (151 at age 34, then 153, 127, 151)
Stan Musial 173
Manny Ramirez 172 (165 at 34)
Honus Wagner 171 (157 at 34)
Rico Carty 168 (115 at 32, 74 at 33, 145 at 34 but less than 100 ABs, 149 at 35)
Jeff Bagwell 167 (135 at 34, then 128, 116, 94)
Dick Allen 166 (94 at 33, 130 at 34, 89 at 35)

The most likely explanation for Pujols putting up 116 OPS+ last year was that he was hurt, if he's healthy OR learns to adjust and play despite his injury we should see some form of rebound, if he's not healthy and never will be healthy, well sucks for the Angels
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4683249)
Part of Pujols statistical problem is he is playing in larger parks at sea level and only faces the cruddy Astros often instead of the cruddy Cubs, Pirates, and Astros 18 games per. I say this not to deny his faltering production, but to point out how inflated his production may have been back in the NL Central. Not facing Cubs pitching is going to worsen one's walk rate in itself.


Really? We are talking about a division with the Mariners also in it? There really is no difference between the Cubs and Mariners realistically speaking, adjust for the DH and the quality of the pitcher's park and you have basically the same quality of pitching.
   45. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4683251)
The decline started his last season with St. Louis.
   46. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4683256)
adjust for the DH and the quality of the pitcher's park and you have basically the same quality of pitching.


So I can safely assume you haven't look at team "Walks Issued" totals.
   47. Ron J2 Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4683260)
#24 As James pointed out in one of his two studies on aging there's something of survivor bias in the way we remember these things.

I did a mini-study a while back looking at the impact of age. It's quite interesting the way it plays out. One simple way to look at the impact of the age curve. Between 1955 and 1999 there 723 players who had consecutive season with 300+ PAs at age 26/27 (IE 26 first season, 27 second). We're down to only 413 for the 31/32 cohort (IE Pujols' last year in St. Louis, first in LA) and 255 for the 33/34 cohort (and I haven't noticed a marked change in these distributions in recent years though I admit I haven't checked)

What I found interesting is that as a group there wasn't much year to year decline among the players who retained their jobs (though the percentage of players who declined starts to rise at age 31) It does seem to be fairly common for a regular player to dip below whatever line is required to keep their job. (might be as simple as teams not giving a marginal older player much time to work things out)
   48. AROM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4683261)
In addition to the objections raised by BBC, does anyone seriously think that the LAA didn't vet the sh!t out of Albert's age before handing him a 10-year $240M contract? C'mon.......


This is the same team that one year earlier traded Napoli for Wells (a contract they are still paying as Vernon sits at home this year). Different GM, but the reports generally lean towards both of these decisions being made at the ownership level.

I'm not arguing that Pujols is older. I don't know. But if he were and was able to hide this fact from the press all these years, and from the government in the post-9/11 security state, then I am damn sure he'd have no trouble hiding it from the Angels too.
   49. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4683267)
would like to know how you think he managed to not get caught in agegate when reporters/customs/baseball execs were in the DR checking everyone out. NO ONE wanted to get $$$ for outing him? cmon

everyone else got caught by someone in the village ratting them out. and like i said, pujols father played and it is not like they moved all over the place. and no one has any idea who "albert pujols" really is. or an entire village/villages is paid off to keep quiet

you don't think they have done DNA testing? cmon


Who were they going to ask? Not Pujol's school...he didn't attend on a regular basis. Albert grew up dirt poor, living with his extended family in more of a camp than a regular home we are used to. When he got to Fort Osage, they entered him as a sophomore because he couldn't speak English


plus, he HAD to have had some school in the DR in order to go into 9th grade in the US when he got here. there would be records from that too.


It doesn't work that way. This is how it probably went for him when he registered for school:

How old are you Albert?

16.

Well, you are only fluent in Spanish so we'll list you as a sophomore and get you some help learning English. Good luck.



you don't think they have done DNA testing? cmon


Who is "they"?
   50. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4683272)
The Illuminati?
   51. base ball chick Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4683276)
AROM

seeing as how you are here - you got any idea why scoscia wanted to get rid of napoli? i have looked at the numbers and i can only guess it was a personality thing.

shibal

i would guess they would go about catching pujols the exact same way they caught every single other guy. someone ratted them out. they went back to look and found out they were either someone else or lied about their age. incuding people who lived in extended families in different places. even if he attended a school on an irregular basis, they would find SOMEONE who knew the truth.

the school would not put someone who could not read or write in even spanish into 9th grade. i would guess he could count enough to do complicated stuff like numbers of strikes, balls, innings.

also, there is a big difference between a 19 year old male and a 16 year old male. the idea that even ONE teacher would not have guessed is kind of hollywood
   52. DA Baracus Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4683279)
you don't think they have done DNA testing?


What would DNA testing tell them?
   53. zenbitz Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4683281)
The problem with aging curves is that people forget they are aggregates.

But I wonder if he should get his eyes checked?
   54. TDF, situational idiot Posted: April 09, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4683283)
Part of Pujols statistical problem is he is playing in larger parks at sea level and only faces the cruddy Astros often instead of the cruddy Cubs, Pirates, and Astros 18 games per. I say this not to deny his faltering production, but to point out how inflated his production may have been back in the NL Central. Not facing Cubs pitching is going to worsen one's walk rate in itself.
I think you're vsstly underrating how crappy Cinci's pitching was from 2001-11. From '01 (his rookie year)-05, the Reds were 14th, 13th, 15th, 15th, and 16th in runs allowed in the NL, only twice were they not in the bottom half of the league (09, 10), and only one other time (06) were they better than 12th.
   55. GuyM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4683285)
Whatever your level of confidence in the LAA brass, or the StL brass, or the feds, the fact is that all three of them have checked the guy out. The notion that his family had the wherewithal to hide his age and cover the trail that well seems pretty implausible.

And more importantly, why does anyone suspect this anymore? There have been more players who produced 75+ WAR from age 21-31, as Pujols did, then have done the same from age 24-34. And production declines at age 32/33 are completely normal -- they happen all the time. So we don't need Albert to be older to explain his decline, and an older age makes his prior production slightly less plausible.
   56. AROM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4683290)
seeing as how you are here - you got any idea why scoscia wanted to get rid of napoli? i have looked at the numbers and i can only guess it was a personality thing.


That's my suspicion - a personality thing. Just didn't work between them, but from everything reported since, Napoli has been a good teammate with no issues.
   57. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4683291)
BBC, a couple of things:

1) I'm from that area and know some people that played with and against him. There were teams he played against in high school that refused to pitch to him because they believed he was too old to be playing. They would just walk him. It was a pretty common belief that he was lying about his age. No proof, obviously.

2) can you tell me how many high school graduates from the United States have been busted lying about their age by MLB? I don't know of any but might be missing something.

3) 16 year old kids go to high school, regardless of their ability to read and write. You wouldn't put a 6'3" kid in grade school or middle school, would you?
   58. AROM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4683298)
Whatever your level of confidence in the LAA brass, or the StL brass, or the feds, the fact is that all three of them have checked the guy out.


LAA - no confidence
STL - they didn't match the contract, right?
Feds - I think Albert was already a US citizen by the time the stricter rules went into effect. Not sure how much scrutiny he went through.

But I agree his performance makes much more sense for his listed age. To me the biggest part is how a guy OPSing .920 in the Midwest league can jump straight to the majors and put up a 1.013. To make such a leap from age 20-21 seems near impossible. But to do so from 23-24 is probably 1000 times more impossible.
   59. Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4683299)
Of course there is only so much we can do with comps. They're fun, I use them a lot around here and, short of doing real modeling, I think it's a useful shortcut to give you an idea of the range of likely outcomes.

But they aren't gospel. If you look at Cabrera's comps (or Albert's) and how they aged, the results aren't awesome. They're not terrible but they can't justify those contracts (it's not clear any realistic level of production could). If you add in Cabrera's body type, things seem even worse.

But then you've got Edgar Martinez sitting there with 39 WAR from age 33 on. Cabrera was so much more productive than Edgar through age 30 and it's clearly possible that he could age like Edgar. Or like Chipper (32 WAR) or Schmidt (32 WAR) or Molitor (29 WAR) or Da Evans (26) or Downing (26) or Stargell (25). Those still aren't worth $270 M it would seem but it's pretty damn good production.

You have some others who get killed in WAR for defensive reasons -- Manny with 195 Rbat, Sheff with 178, Alou at 165, Thome at 162. From 33 on Gwynn hit 356(!) with more power, averaging about 30 Rbat per full season.

The 30s aren't a death sentence. They are a rather silly time to pay a player $30 M a year for multiple years. Those are distinct, not identical, statements.
   60. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4683300)
So I can safely assume you haven't look at team "Walks Issued" totals


Not really. By that logic his strikeout rate should have also gone down. Cubs over the course of Alberts career generally had a high strike percentage, now he gets to face the Oakland and Houston staff that don't strike anyone out.... Really if you try to parse this down to each component you are going to find something somewhere where it's stronger or weaker in his previous division.

The simple fact is that the Mariners pitching staff over the past two years have been inferior to the pitching staff that Albert faced over his career from the Cubs. In fact the worst Cubs pitching staff that Albert faced, was better than the garbage that the Mariners put up there last year.(technically an exaggeration as the Cubs of 2006 had a horrendous year pitching bookended by a few great years, but the second worst Cubs pitching staff he faced was better than the stuff the Mariners throw up there, and considering that at least half his career they were one of the best in baseball, it's disingenuous to single out the Cubs as a helper in Pujols accumulating his numbers)



   61. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4683302)
I think you're vsstly underrating how crappy Cinci's pitching was from 2001-11. From '01 (his rookie year)-05, the Reds were 14th, 13th, 15th, 15th, and 16th in runs allowed in the NL, only twice were they not in the bottom half of the league (09, 10), and only one other time (06) were they better than 12th.


If he would have said the Reds instead of the Cubs, I wouldn't have had a problem, but including the Cubs in that comment while ignoring the crapitude that is the Mariners, is just utterly ridiculous.
   62. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4683304)
That's my suspicion - a personality thing. Just didn't work between them, but from everything reported since, Napoli has been a good teammate with no issues.


I thought it was an old school thing. Napoli wasn't a good defensive catcher so Scioscia saw no need in him and his offense wasn't going to be good enough to warrant moving him to first base. Add in the typical Angels/Scioscia desire to have guys who put the ball in play more than work the count and you can see that Napoli wasn't a Scioscia type of guy.

Of course this is the viewpoint from a guy who barely acknowledges the AL west as a major league. :)
   63. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4683305)
#13 - That's what I noticed, too. I thought I'd read that he fixed his foot/leg problems and everything was ok down there yet he has the most old man gait I've ever seen a ballplayer have who wasn't actually limping. I think 70 year old Joe Namath has a longer stride and better push than Pujols.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4683307)
On Albert ... he's been trying to HIT his way out of his "slump" since that last season with the Cards. Somebody needs to sit him down and explain that he needs to WALK his way out of this slump. The incredible line drive machine is no more. His future is in lines like 270/370/520. Frank Thomas became that hitter, Jim Thome became that hitter. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for Albert.
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4683308)
1) I'm from that area and know some people that played with and against him. There were teams he played against in high school that refused to pitch to him because they believed he was too old to be playing. They would just walk him. It was a pretty common belief that he was lying about his age. No proof, obviously.


And most of that was rampant racism more than any educated guess.

On Albert ... he's been trying to HIT his way out of his "slump" since that last season with the Cards. Somebody needs to sit him down and explain that he needs to WALK his way out of this slump. The incredible line drive machine is no more. His future is in lines like 270/370/520. Frank Thomas became that hitter, Jim Thome became that hitter. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for Albert.


Absolutely agree, even in St Louis he was pressing more than he had in the past.
   66. GuyM Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4683311)
STL - they didn't match the contract, right?


I was taking CFB's word on this (which jibes with my recollection): "Before the Cardinals signed Pujols to the extension they spent a ton of money researching his origins to get his "real" age and could find no evidence that his age was anything other than what he claimed."
   67. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4683318)

And most of that was rampant racism more than any educated guess.


So the black dude telling me this was a racist?

I didn't know. Thanks for letting me know.
   68. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4683323)
seeing as how you are here - you got any idea why scoscia wanted to get rid of napoli? i have looked at the numbers and i can only guess it was a personality thing.


Wasn't Mathis a good defensive catcher? I could see Scioscia valuing a good defensive catcher with no offense over a monster offensive catcher with no defense.

EDIT: Cardsfanboy said what I said, but better, and earlier.
   69. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4683327)
So the black dude telling me this was a racist?


This fact does not necessarily mean anything. Anyone can be racist.

*I'm not accusing anyone of being racist.*
   70. spycake Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4683336)
If Pujols family really was that poor, he may not have concealed a real age as much as inaccurately chose one when he had to.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4683352)
So the black dude telling me this was a racist?


I don't see why not.

To me, people assuming a person who is older than they claim, simply because they come from the DR, is absolute racism. Bring me some proof then I might believe you, but this is the U.S. innocent until proven guilty. The limit of the proof that Albert is older is 1. he's the youngest of 11 in his family(uncles and aunts not siblings, as he was raised by his grandma), so it is very possible he could have used one of his siblings id. 2. He (supposedly)tried out for a major league team when he was 15 and didn't make the team(I haven't verified whether he claimed he was older or not, but he supposedly tried out for a team in the DR, didn't make it, moved to the states, went to high school) 3. He was big for his age...(how many world class athletes can that be said about?)

that is the extent of the evidence. A guy who grew up to be pretty big....speaks Spanish and has a large family.
   72. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4683364)
What would DNA testing tell them?


The defense contractor that manufactured him?

Still wouldn't explain how he escaped cold storage and where the rest of the cyborg army is being kept.
   73. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4683367)

To me, people assuming a person who is older than they claim, simply because they come from the DR, is absolute racism. Bring me some proof then I might believe you, but this is the U.S. innocent until proven guilty.


DR parents routinely wait years before registering their new child. See Danny Almonte as an example. Plus Albert was thought to be older than he claimed because he looked like a man playing with boys in high school. There's a few reasons why he dropped to the 13th round; doubts about his age was probably one of the main ones.

100% proof? Nope. And there probably isn't any. But we aren't in a court of law and don't need a "innocent until proven guilty" standard to discuss the likelihood of him being older than he claims. He already admitted to lying about his age in order to get a date with his future wife; why should we assume he only did it the one time?

   74. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4683370)
I find it a little suspicious that his favorite show is Murder She Wrote.

The fact that he used to watch "Captain Video and His Video Rangers" on the old DuMont network also raises red flags...
   75. vivaelpujols Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4683371)
Part of Pujols statistical problem is he is playing in larger parks at sea level and only faces the cruddy Astros often instead of the cruddy Cubs, Pirates, and Astros 18 games per.


This is really ####### stupid. Busch is an extreme pitchers park for right handed hitters, about the same as Angels stadium.
   76. thetailor Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4683374)
Rumors, yes But rumors from smart guys. http://www.baseballnation.com/2011/8/25/2383428/from-a-whisper-to-a-shout

The great Jonah Keri:

[A]t this year's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, six of us were asked to write down on a piece of paper how old we thought Pujols was, as a secret ballot exercise. The group included two front-office types, a scout, a baseball technology guru, Rob Neyer, and myself. I was the only one who guessed that Pujols was the age he says he is.

Five out of six. And here I thought I was in the minority.

   77. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4683394)
So Neyer is a racist too? Who are the other four and why is Keri protecting them?
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4683397)
Rumors, yes But rumors from smart guys. http://www.baseballnation.com/2011/8/25/2383428/from-a-whisper-to-a-shou


Huh? they have no evidence, so how are they smart guys in this context? You find me 10 medical doctors who have dealt with DR people all their life, and then you might be bringing someone who's intelligence and experience matters. But 6 analysts who haven't done any type of demographic studies on the issue, who haven't looked at the history of players in the majors and their bodies in high school? Who more than likely are upper class white males, which means they are absolutely starting from a place of prejudice, I'm not seeing how their opinion matters any more than Joe Schmoe in the bar.

Heck give them a lineup and have them name the ages of 50 - 100 people(between the age of 14-21) and we'll see how they do, if they can score within 1 year on 90% of them, then I might listen to their opinion on this.

As it stands it boils down to he's big for his age and he's Dominican. Michael Jordan was 6' as a sophomore in high school(5'11" technically), heck I'm willing to bet most major league ball players were right around 6' in high school. But they don't have the dominican stigma attached to them.
   79. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4683399)
Not that he couldn't be an outlier--the sample size of all players who have been major league regulars for 10+ years is pretty small--but you can't deny that Pujols' career shape makes a great deal more sense if he was born in 1977 than 1980. If he was born in 1977, he came up at 24 and raked like a maniac right away (he was, after all, indisputably one of the all-time great hitters), his prime was from age 26-32, then he steadily declined until he fell off a cliff at 36. That is a normal career shape.

Of course it is also entirely possible that he is presently 33 and has simply had his career ruined by injuries; God knows he wouldn't be the first. And I'm yet to see anyone suggest that Mike Trout must be 24.

As for the Angels, rumors that Pujols is older than he claims have been around since before he entered pro ball. They decided he was worth the contract anyway. I agree with the posters who point out they likely didn't have access to any information that hasn't long been around.
   80. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4683406)
Just to recap how Danny Almonte got busted. He was born in 1987. His parents registered him with the DR government in 1994. Right before he moved to the US, his dad registered him again, this time saying he was born in 1989. They used that new registration as his official documentation, using that to get into school and so on.

Sports Illustrated somehow discovered that there was another Danny Almonte listed in the official registration, and dug that up. Everything was the same; parents, ID #, full name, all but the birth date. 4-7-87 was the date listed on the first registration; 4-7-89 was the date listed on the second.

Birth records simply aren't reliable in the DR.
   81. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4683407)
If he was born in 1977, he came up at 24 and raked like a maniac right away (he was, after all, indisputably one of the all-time great hitters), his prime was from age 26-32, then he steadily declined until he fell off a cliff at 36. That is a normal career shape.


I'm not sure why that is any more a valid assumption than he came up at 21, had his best season at 28 and had his prime be, exactly as most people and studies say it should be, 25-30...

I do not get how Pujols is an outlier here...having him be three years old would make him more of an outlier.
   82. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4683410)
If he was born in 1977, he came up at 24 and raked like a maniac right away


What AROM said in #58
   83. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4683413)
Birth records simply aren't reliable in the DR


That is fine... but when you accuse someone of lying and your reasoning is 1. he's big for his age and 2. he's dominican...you can't be upset when someone calls you a racist. At least they are basing their accusation on an actual piece of evidence.
   84. zenbitz Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4683419)
but you can't deny that Pujols' career shape makes a great deal more sense if he was born in 1977 than 1980.


This is terrible, terrible awful data analysis. It's almost as bad as looking at Bonds career shape and concluding "derp steroids".

What you are doing is just like Gregor Mendel recounting his pea pods to fit his hypothesis (which was, incidentally correct).

This is not how science works. The career shape graph is just an aggregate over a bunch of careers. There isn't even any interpretable model around it, other than "older guy play bad". And in fact the stupid curve is VERY VERY FLAT around 28-35.

In order for Pujol's career shape to be suspect, you would have to calculate something like a P-value for it's deviance from the average - and then correct this for the total number of hypotheses (ballplayers) in the sample.
That would give you a probability (estimate) that his shape is NOT derived from the same sample as all the other ball players, which -- if this probability was high enough might allow you to consider some other hypothesis like:

1) he's a cyborg
2) he's really 3 years older
3) he was born in Kenya and has Sickle-Cell-Baseball-Anemia that strikes when he's 31.
4) he's allergic to LA.
   85. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4683420)
--the sample size of all players who have been major league regulars for 10+ years is pretty small- ...his prime was from age 26-32, then he steadily declined until he fell off a cliff at 36. That is a normal career shape


Bill James in the 80s said that was wrong- prime was not to 32, for most players it ended at 29-30, and the possibility of cliff diving started ramping up at age 32- I first read that at the same time SI announced that Dale Murphy was "entering" his prime (he was 29 or 30 at the time)- James argument was no, he's leaving it.

It seems to me that the Silly Ball era was anomolous in the large number of highly visible players who seemed to have extended-primes and/or late peaks- but there is nothing historically abnormal about the SHAPE of his career- it's a pretty good match for Murphy (the shape that is, Pujols' is just higher that's all)

Of course Pujols' career shape would fit historical norms even if he was 2-3 years older than listed, his particluar careeer shape isn't real good evidence either way.
   86. greenback calls it soccer Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4683425)
Dialing back...
"He lied about his age" is more plausible than "he suddenly stopped taking steroids."

I don't know about that. If I was a baseball player taking steroids, then I would stop after I got a $250 million contract that runs past my 41st birthday.
   87. zonk Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:40 PM (#4683430)
I think Walt nails it...

On Albert ... he's been trying to HIT his way out of his "slump" since that last season with the Cards. Somebody needs to sit him down and explain that he needs to WALK his way out of this slump. The incredible line drive machine is no more. His future is in lines like 270/370/520. Frank Thomas became that hitter, Jim Thome became that hitter. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for Albert.


I'm pretty shocked, actually. Before he left STL, I remember a thread where I was arguing that when it was all said and done, Pujols was gonna reach Ruthian levels on most of the advanced metric counting stats (plus potentially standard counting stats). Now, I'm wondering exactly how much he ends up sliding if does play out the whole contract.

I know he's had some injury issues and I know he's now 34.... but yikes - it's hard to even fathom, but there's a legitimate chance he never eclipses a 2 WAR season again.... that's just sad.
   88. shoewizard Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4683433)
I sent this in an e mail to a friend on April 27, 2013


I was watching the tail end of the Angels Mariners game tonight, and Albert came up in the top of the 9th, and I was NOT surprised to see him batting just .272 with 2 HR. Think about that sentence a moment. He then proceeded to strike out on 3 pitches, 2 called strikes, the first one a FB that ran inside and I thought was a ball, but the ump said strike 1, the second called strike a curveball that broke his knees......and looking feeble, a check swing for the 3rd strike of the AB.

I trotted over to Albert's Baseball Reference page, with the thought and intent of seeing exactly where his decline started to set in.
It's pretty clear that it started in 2011, at age 31.

Lets take a look at how Albert has hit through age 30, and then since

PA BA OBP SLG OPS OPSHR HR per 162
Thru 30 6782 .331 .426 .624 1.050 172 408 43
31
-33 1416 .290 .356 .520 .876 143 69 35 


That really seems like quite a steep dropoff. Of course he's still a very good hitter, almost all star caliber, but a far cry from the type of numbers he was putting up prior to 2011 and turning 31.

Now you might say, thats to be expected, after all, players slow down in their 30's. But Albert is in his EARLY 30's, and anecdotally it would seem that players in his class don't slow down THIS much this soon. So what of players in his class ? I decided to take a further look. I defined his class as players with over a .300 BA, over 300 HR, and over a 150 OPS+ thru age 30. I ended up adding Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio to the list, because they fell short of the HR cutoff due to WW2.

Notable guys that didn't make the list are Bonds, Griffey, and A-Rod. Bonds misses due to .286 BA and less than 300 HR. Griffey misses due to .296 BA, and OPS+ under 150. And A-Rod misses due to OPS+ of 145, (Kingdome and Texas helped his numbers a lot early on). So here is the list , ranked by OPS+:
Player PA BA OBP SLG OPS OPSHR
Babe Ruth 4941 .345 .475 .697 1.171 211 309
Ted Williams 5345 .353 .488 .642 1.130 195 265
Mickey Mantle 7199 .309 .429 .581 1.009 176 404
Albert Pujols 6782 .331 .426 .624 1.050 172 408
Jimmie Foxx 7293 .335 .437 .635 1.073 169 429
Joe Dimaggio 4419 .339 .403 .607 1.010 159 219
Mel Ott 7808 .315 .419 .558 .977 158 369
Willie Mays 5960 .316 .390 .585 .975 158 319
Hank Aaron 7216 .320 .376 .567 .943 157 366
Manny Ramirez 5233 .316 .411 .599 1.010 156 310
Frank Robinson 7088 .304 .391 .562 .953 154 373
Miguel Cabrera 6569 .319 .395 .560 .955 151 323
Vladimir Guerrero 5494 .324 .391 .587 .977 150 305 



So then I wanted to see what these guys did from age 31-33, (again ranked by OPS+) Note Miguel Cabrera is just in his age 30 season now so he isn't on this second list.
Player
PA
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS
OPS
+
HR
Babe Ruth
2027
.349
.488
.740
1.227
219
161
Willie Mays
2042
.305
.382
.602
.984
170
134
Frank Robinson
1714
.297
.404
.524
.928
169
77
Ted Williams
1103
.319
.460
.594
1.054
167
59
Mickey Mantle
1215
.288
.411
.546
.957
166
69
Jimmie Foxx
1765
.318
.429
.592
1.020
159
90
Hank Aaron
1996
.301
.368
.557
.925
157
115
Manny Ramirez
1992
.309
.404
.598
1.002
155
125
Joe Dimaggio
1837
.309
.385
.546
.932
154
84
Mel Ott
1945
.290
.408
.483
.891
150
76
Albert Pujols
1416
.290
.356
.520
.876
143
69
Vladimir Guerrero
1925
.319
.384
.541
.925
139
87 


Looking at this list, Albert clearly is dropping out of this class of hitter, as did Guerrero. I can almost say it's unprecedented for a hitter of Albert's caliber to fall off this fast in his early 30's. Vlad is borderline on this list to begin with, just beating the threshold to get on it in the first place in OPS+ and HR. The guys from the 60's, Mantle, Robinson, Aaron, and Mays all had their raw rate stats dinged by that pitchers era, (batting averages especially) but the OPS+ number held or actually improved in Mays and Robinson's case. Williams of coure was interrupted by war again during those years, and he went on to post a 187 OPS+ spanning age 32-38

There are 5 months and a week left in the 2013 season. Albert could get hot, but he's not going to finish with over a 150 OPS+ and move back toward Ott and Dimaggio territory, that much looks pretty certain.

SO......I think we can say that Albert has had a unique and strange decline that is almost completely out of step with all the great players of his class that came before him .

Finally, I'll leave with this: Many have speculated about Albert's age over the years, so I wondered how his last 2+ seasons would compare to these other players age 33-35 seasons instead of age 31-33. (IOW, make the comparison as if Albert were two years older than his stated age)

The fact is, he only climbs one run, above known alchoholic Jimmy Fox, who declined directly because of the bottle. So you can't even attribute this unprecedented decline to the speculation about Albert's age.
Player OPS+
Ted Williams 215
Babe Ruth 204
Willie Mays 169
Hank Aaron 166
Joe Dimaggio 162
Mel Ott 158
Frank Robinson 157
Mickey Mantle 151
Manny Ramirez 148
Albert Pujols 143
Jimmie Foxx 123
Vladimir Guerrero 120 
   89. Shibal Posted: April 09, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4683440)
That is fine... but when you accuse someone of lying and your reasoning is 1. he's big for his age and 2. he's dominican...you can't be upset when someone calls you a racist. At least they are basing their accusation on an actual piece of evidence.


You didn't call me a racist, you moron. You called anyone who dared to question Albert's age a racist. You dropped that charge like it was a loose penny at a gas station, all the while demanding proof beyond a reasonable doubt that our speculation was 100% fact.



   90. Zach Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4683453)
If you're approaching 18, you might want to fudge your age to make it easier to get a visa to join your family, or to get a free high school education.

It's not just that Pujols looks older than his published age. He also married a woman a few years older than him, who already had a child, when he was officially 20 years old.

If it suddenly came out that Pujols was the biological father of his first child, and that he fudged his age to make it easier to get a visa and a free education so that he could better support his daughter, would anybody really be surprised? I'm not saying that's what happened, but it would be really easy to believe if it were.
   91. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:18 PM (#4683459)
But I agree his performance makes much more sense for his listed age. To me the biggest part is how a guy OPSing .920 in the Midwest league can jump straight to the majors and put up a 1.013. To make such a leap from age 20-21 seems near impossible. But to do so from 23-24 is probably 1000 times more impossible.

I think that's ridiculous. The far more likely situation is that Pujols played for three more years in an alternate timeline, turned into a HOF ball player, went back in time, killed his 20-21 year old self, took over for him and then started lying about his age.
   92. bjhanke Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4683460)
Albert's body did put up some real early warning flags. He actually reached the Cards as a third baseman, but hurt his elbow (or shoulder), which left him without a 3B arm. So they moved him to left field, whereupon he promptly came down with plantar fasciitis, which is a foot problem that makes it painful just to walk, much less play MLB baseball. That's the foot problem that the Angels were trying to get fixed last year. So, over to 1B. That's a lot for a body to deal with at young ages, and might explain his early decline. Also, here in STL, Albert tried as hard as anyone (he was known for trying to run out every ground ball, when he had bad feet), but then, the team was always threatening to win something. The Angels, while not dreadful, have not been a successful as the Cards were. That might affect his willingness to fight through the pain, making him look listless.

The way I got the story of the contract, bearing in mind that I'm from STL and the press there may have been giving out odd info, was that the Cards had Albert sealed and delivered, just on the point of signed, when the owner of the Angels got this huge windfall of money for TV rights. Like everyone who suddenly comes into a large sum of money, the owner had to splurge on something, just to convince himself that the money was real. So he splurged on the guy who, at the time, looked like the best player in the game. Based on such sources as I have, the Cards didn't get a chance to match the offer; apparently Albert's agent realized that the Cards had really made the best offer they could even try to afford.

Busch Stadium is only 600 feet above sea level, so I doubt that elevation had much to do with Albert's drop in performance.

gef - Please tell me that you are not really one of those guys who think that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya and is a Socialist. He was born in Hawaii, documented as well as I can document my birthplace. And I am a Socialist, although a mild one. Obama is noticeably to the right of me. He is a moderate. I'm hoping that your comment was made as a joke, in which case, Good One! You sure got me going there. I was chuckling away when I realized that the actual wording did not make it a transparent joke. - Brock Hanke
   93. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4683461)
You didn't call me a racist, you moron. You called anyone who dared to question Albert's age a racist. You dropped that charge like it was a loose penny at a gas station, all the while demanding proof beyond a reasonable doubt that our speculation was 100% fact.


I would at least like some evidence. As it stands it's fairly simple 1. he's big for his age 2. he is Dominican. That is the extent of the evidence. White and black Americans have often been as physically imposing as Albert Pujols at the same "young" age he was in high school and nobody calls them out on it. It's simply because he's Dominican. By absolute definition, that is racism.
   94. Lars6788 Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4683466)
Jerry DiPoto on Pujols' age - I think he gives a vague answer, but I guess it didn't matter.

Q. Two questions: One, there's been some speculation over the years about just how old Pujols is. Are you comfortable and confident that he is 31?

And the history of these long-term contracts, mega long-term contracts has not been very positive. Why do you think, I assume you think, it will be positive for you guys, why?

JERRY DIPOTO: I will say that Albert Pujols' age to me is not a concern. He's an honorable man. I think he's a very respectful man, and I'm not a scientist. I can't tell you where he is. But I can tell you he hits like he's 27. I won't go into the next one, quite frankly I won't discuss the term of the contract, et cetera.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111208&content_id=26131260&vkey=news_ana&c_id=ana
   95. bobm Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4683474)
what on earth kind of machismo ballplayer would watch a show where the star is an old lady who doesn't carry a big ol gun shoot Bad Guys every episode, doesn't even know how to DRIVE, doesn't swear, is always looking for the cops instead of just dispensing Justice her own self. and nobody takes their clothes off. not even mostly undressed HOTTTTTTTT young guys as The Sheriff or boobular stick skinny blonds as The Sidekick

Jim Rice?

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/jim_rice_restless_but_not_about_hall/

Yet Jim Rice plans no change to his routine on Monday. True, he has scheduled no dentist appointments and he is not bringing in the guy from Sears to steam-clean the furniture. Other than that, it will be, he says, a normal day.

“I’ll be available at 2 o’clock,” he said, and that’s important: That’s when the phone will ring if there is a phone call coming.

Before that?

“I’ll be watching ‘The Young and the Restless,’ ” he said. “It’s over at 1:30, so that will give me a half hour. But I never miss ‘The Young and the Restless’ and I’m not going to start now.

“I’ve been watching it for 25 years,” he said. “When I was playing for the Red Sox, we met some of the cast one day in Oakland. They were playing a softball game at the ballpark. Two or three of them were big Red Sox fans. I met the cast later on in Anaheim. I started watching the show and I was hooked.

“Miss Chancellor’s coming back,” he said. “She’s this billionaire on the show. She had a lookalike that they buried, and everyone thinks it’s her. But it’s not. It’s all incredible stuff.”
   96. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4683497)
Well, I take back everything I've said about Jim Rice over the years. I am definitely afraid of him now.
   97. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:40 PM (#4683499)
also, there is a big difference between a 19 year old male and a 16 year old male.

You are over-generalizing. When I was 19 I could pass for 16. When I was 16, I was most often guessed as being 12 or 13 years old. My one son started shaving in 9th grade; the other one really didn't have to until he was 20 or so.
   98. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4683504)
“Miss Chancellor’s coming back,” he said. “She’s this billionaire on the show. She had a lookalike that they buried, and everyone thinks it’s her. But it’s not. It’s all incredible stuff.”


Talk about someone who has waaaay too much time on their hands.
   99. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4683530)
You are over-generalizing. When I was 19 I could pass for 16. When I was 16, I was most often guessed as being 12 or 13 years old. My one son started shaving in 9th grade; the other one really didn't have to until he was 20 or so.


And Frank Abagnale could pass as a 30 year old at 17....

But you are giving these people too much credit. Again their only reason for this assumption is that just like pretty much every single major leaguer, he dominates at the high school level and he's Dominican. They don't even need to look at him to make the assumption.
   100. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 09, 2014 at 10:23 PM (#4683531)
And Frank Abagnale could pass as a 30 year old at 17....

Greg Oden says hi..
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