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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pujols’ Age Revisted

An old subject with a little bit of new information.

bunyon Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:51 PM | 90 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, cardinals, pujols, scouting

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   1. Rally Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5659256)
Very interesting. Pujols let it slip by describing the age he homered off Octavio Dotel as a kid in the DR, and forgot to keep a consistent story in regards to their relative ages.

If true it does make his decline with the Angels make more sense, and his career WAR before and after 30 is more in line with that of typical superstars.

But either way it's a little unusual. Pujols already has peaked a little bit later than typical. His best two seasons (by WAR, or OPS+, or by recognition as back to back MVP) are his age 28-29 seasons. If Pujols really is 40 or 41 right now, then he peaked at 30-31 or 31-32. Certainly not unprecedented, but a little bit unusual.

Also it means that a 23 year old who overmatched the National league in 2001 (157 OPS+, 1.013 OPS) was much less impressive as a 22 year old mostly in the Midwest league (.920 OPS). His sudden development, if it happened at reported ages 20 and 21 is already unusual so I guess it's not too much harder to believe that.

I think that is more extreme than a breakout like Jose Bautista, going from 99 OPS+ to 164, but all of that coming in the big leagues. I don't think a .920 OPS in the Midwest league would be expected to immediately produce league average results in MLB. Bautista had an .872 OPS when he was in low A ball in 2002, so if he went straight from there to his 2010 results it would be a more extreme jump than Pujols. But of course he didn't, it took him 8 years to get there.
   2. Rally Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5659261)
Looking at the 2000 Midwest league, Pujols was one of 3 very impressive 20 year old hitters. Austin Kearns (.972) out hit him, with Adam Dunn a bit behind. Dunn hit a lot of homers and Kearns looked like he was going to be a solid player before injuries got the better of him, but Pujols developed way, way better than they did and it was instant.

If he was 22-23 that year, his Midwest league comps by age and performance are Ryan Gripp (.942), Justin Leone (.920), Lyle Overbay (.895) and Jason Lane (.884). Gripped topped out in AA. Leone got 32 games in the bigs. Overbay was a decent player (106 OPS+, around 120 at peak) and Lane played a few years but was only a useful regular for one.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5659272)
I mean, it all adds up. Literally.

So...do the Angels use the leverage of a potential fraud lawsuit to try to get a graceful retirement after this season with a significant, undisclosed renegotiation of the remainder of the contract?
   4. Batman Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5659281)
His grandchildren should be taken away.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5659291)
Pujols let it slip by describing the age he homered off Octavio Dotel as a kid in the DR


That's a mistranslation. Pujols homered off Octavius, son of the elder Gaius Octavius and the future Augustus Caesar.
   6. Hotel Coral Esix Snead (tmutchell) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5659306)
Based on some of the local news writeups here:

https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/albert-pujols-revisiting-the-early-years/

and here:

https://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/albert-pujols-in-high-school-and-junior-college/

I don't think it's fair to say that Pujols experienced a "sudden development". He was probably older than advertised, but was killing it in American Legion ball as a (probably) 19-20 year old and while I couldn't find any stats on his JuCo years (Baseball Cube doesn't seem to have them) I presume he was awesome there too. Hitting .324 with power and more walks than K's in the Midwest league in his first prolonged exposure to pro ball is pretty impressive whether he was 20 or 22. Maybe not anticipated perennial MVP contender impressive, but it's not like he came out of nowhere. It just felt that way.




   7. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:28 PM (#5659310)
The ages in the recollections are not as precise as the article wants you to believe.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5659313)
Applause for 4 and 5.
   9. Rally Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5659336)
#6,

Albert’s numbers in the Midwest league are impressive in a “pay attention to this kid, he might be a decent MLB player someday” way. They don’t say “ this guy is an MLB mvp candidate next year”. There is a huge difference in the quality of pitching you see at the big league level and low A ball. Yet Albert put up better numbers against MLB pitching. It may not be the biggest 1 year jump in perceived talent level, but it’s up there. Honestly, if Albert had hit .240 with 15 homers as a rookie it would have been impressive (if not particularly valuable in the context of 2000.). It would have marked him as a player likely to develop and have a decent career.
   10. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5659364)
In fairness to Pujols -

Once I hit my 30s, if you asked me to name my age for memorable events of my childhood - the only ones I get right by age are those tied to statutory age (i.e., I got my driver's license at age 16... because I got it when I was legally allowed to get it... at 16).

If I can tie it to HS class - fr/so/jr/sr - I can probably come within +/- a year. Jr High? I couldn't guess.
   11. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5659369)
If the theory that he is 2 years older than reported is true, that means he graduated HS a month before he turned 21. Possible I suppose, but implausible.
   12. Ziggy's screen name Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5659382)
Willie Mays 80.4 81.7


This is the really amazing one. Equally great pre- and post-30. Maybe Willie is actually 88 instead of 86.
   13. Internet Commenter Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:41 PM (#5659391)
2001 was quite the year for surprise breakouts: Aurilia, Boone, Gonzalez . . .
   14. Perry Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5659394)
If the theory that he is 2 years older than reported is true, that means he graduated HS a month before he turned 21. Possible I suppose, but implausible.


According to the article, that could have been the motivation for fudging his age. The family came to the US in 1996; if he was 16, he could attend high school, if 18, not, which would affect his whole future.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:54 PM (#5659396)
#9 certainly Pujols’ level of success was a surprise, but is there anyone in the minors who ever translates to MLB MVP caliber player in the following season? Which minor league position player had the best MLEs last year and what were they?

I feel like whenever anyone comes up and is a superstar right away, it’s a bit of a surprise statistically, just because the vast majority of minor leaguers aren’t that successful in the majors. And even the guys who succeed are rarely as good as Pujols was as a rookie.
   16. . . . . . . Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:26 PM (#5659414)
But as Judge reminds us, it is possible for a hitter in his mid 20s to have a sudden increase in ability from "good minor leaguer" to "MLB MVP". That sort of change is within the range of what's observed, albeit rarely.
   17. McCoy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5659423)

This is the really amazing one. Equally great pre- and post-30. Maybe Willie is actually 88 instead of 86.


It helps that he basically lost two years in his 20's to military service. He could very well have something like 15 more WAR for his 20's.
   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5659424)
#16, exactly

If the guy was putting up stats that translated to MLB all-star he’d likely already be in the majors, barring service time games.
   19. McCoy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5659426)
Pujols hit .461 with 22 homers and 80 RBI at Maple Woods
   20. . . . . . . Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:39 PM (#5659429)
OT, but I was looking at some other 'surprise' prospects, and in checking out Mike Piazza I realized that the 1992 Albuquerque Dukes must be one of the strongest minor league teams of recent years, in terms of future value (they finished LAST in the PCL).

The following future all-stars got material playing time for that team: Mike Piazza, Henry Rodriguez, Raul Mondesi, Eric Young, Pedro Martinez, Pedro Astacio. Tom Goodwin was never an all-star but was also on the team and had multiple 3 WAR seasons in the show.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:41 PM (#5659430)
I recall reading that when he was in high school, opposing managers refused to pitch to him to protest their belief that he was clearly over high school age. Dozens of IBBs may have also led to him being drafted so late, because fewer scouts had the chance to see him do anything.
   22. PreservedFish Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5659432)
   23. Adam Starblind Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:38 PM (#5659483)
If the theory that he is 2 years older than reported is true, that means he graduated HS a month before he turned 21. Possible I suppose, but implausible.


We had a dude in my high school who was 21. I don't think the words "he graduated" apply though. He also looked like a mass murderer.
   24. McCoy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:44 PM (#5659488)
When I worked in Wisconsin our salad guy was going to graduate just weeks shy of his 21st Birthday. He was not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.
   25. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:51 PM (#5659489)
Pujols' recollection of how old he was at certain points are not damning, or even really good evidence of anything. What's much more suspicious is that at one point, he says that Octavio Dotel is "three or four years older" than he is, even though it's actually more than six. And the fact that Pujols homered off Dotel at a time when, if his listed age is correct, Pujols must have been about 12. Those are the suspicious parts.
   26. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: April 24, 2018 at 08:36 PM (#5659517)
#7 - I think the article does well in nailing down the age. Pujols says it happened "28 years ago." He says it with such specificity and certainty it has to be 1990. He would have said "30 years or so" or something similar otherwise. And Pujols certainly wasn't taking a 17 year old Dotel deep at age 10.
   27. Adam Starblind Posted: April 24, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5659518)
Pujols' recollection of how old he was at certain points are not damning, or even really good evidence of anything.


I remember being 12 in 1989. That's pretty good evidence that I am 41.
   28. eric Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:02 PM (#5659535)
Has there ever been a situation in MLB where a contract was voided or altered after the fact due to the player lying about their age? And a follow-up, what is the highest profile player/largest contract for which that occurred?
   29. bookbook Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:05 PM (#5659542)
Eh. Maybe. Leg injuries drove Pujols decline, right? We’re they age-related leg injuries? Sure. But any athlete over the age of 32 is living on borrowed time, right?
   30. Hotel Coral Esix Snead (tmutchell) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:16 PM (#5659551)
I recall reading that when he was in high school, opposing managers refused to pitch to him to protest their belief that he was clearly over high school age. Dozens of IBBs may have also led to him being drafted so late, because fewer scouts had the chance to see him do anything.


Yes, the Fangraphs article I posted above says he had 26 walks, 18 of them intentional during is "senior" year at Fort Osage HS. That doesn't sound like a ton, but when you consider it was only a 60 game schedule and that he hit .660 with 29 HR, there really weren't a lot of opportunities to walk.
   31. KronicFatigue Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:21 PM (#5659556)
The article implies there was other evidence out there. My memory is hazy, but I don't remember there being ANYTHING out there at the time other than 1) other people were lying about their age and 2) the bell curve of his performance matches better with an older person. What am I missing?
   32. bookbook Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:24 PM (#5659558)
Also, Ken Griffey and Eddie Matthews are all time greats who sucked similarly after age 30....
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:46 PM (#5659579)
What am I missing?
Any visual image of the guy when he was "24," apparently.
   34. The Duke Posted: April 24, 2018 at 10:19 PM (#5659598)
22. That’s hilarious - “the fact you are questioning his age is racist”. In one line that sums up so much of what is wrong in today’s world. Alberts great and only he knows how old he is. Who exactly has he hurt If he fudged his age ? The guys who won’t pay a minimum wage? I’m not that outraged.

His stats make a lot more sense if he is older.
   35. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 24, 2018 at 10:30 PM (#5659603)
I remember being 12 in 1989. That's pretty good evidence that I am 41.


If you ask me how old I was in 1989, I could tell you exactly. If you asked me how old I was that day I went to Wrigley Field and Mario Soto started for the Reds but got thrown out of the game and nearly started a riot.... gee, let's see, I dunno, maybe 20? The stories in the article are closer to the latter - memorable experiences that might have happened any time.
   36. rickey steals third person Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5659646)
Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't using Dotel's actual age (which is two years older than reported) to measure Pujols "actual" age problematic? IOW, woudln't Pujols naturally think that he's 3-4 years older than Dotel due to Dotel claiming to be born in '75 (and likely playing in DR under the same assumption). 3-4 years older doesn't seem like nearly as much of a stretch from 75-80 (using Dotel's claimed age at the time) than from 73 to 80. I mean, I think Pujols is older than stated too, but the gotcha here is at least a bit problematic.

Disclaimer: I have humanities degrees so my math and spatial relations are kind of suspect.....
   37. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:53 PM (#5659647)
Also, Ken Griffey and Eddie Matthews are all time greats who sucked similarly after age 30....


One of these are not like the other:

Pujols WAA/WAR age 30+: 8.4/25.6

Mathews: 14.6/28.3

Griffey: -1.2/13.1
   38. Walt Davis Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:41 AM (#5659687)
1. Unless Pujols has managed to keep his visa renewed without leaving the country (and even that I have doubts about) and never went back to the DR, then his age is known. Baseball players could get away with stuff like that before 9/11 but not after. His age may not be known to us but the name and age on his passport and visas will be accurate.

2. Meaning that even if he's older, the Angels knew how old he was when they signed him. Or they failed spectacularly at doing due diligence.

the bell curve of his performance matches better with an older person.

Not really since the shape of his performance (and peaks/valleys) doesn't really line up with anybody. Plus we know that he has the foot problems and we've seen plenty of guys get derailed by those (most obvious comp being McGwire).

Late draft choice with meteoric rise to the best player in baseball not named Bonds -- that's no less likely from 18-21 than from 20-23.

A peak from 23-33 is probably more common than from 21-31 but great players being awesome at 21 is not.

Even if we make his age 31-36 into 33-38, that's a severe decline. There are reasonable comp HoFers with similar production at 33-38 (Thome, Dawson, Winfield) but it's still a nasty, rapid decline to being no better than Reggie Sanders or Paul O'Neill. Now obviously that too is more likely to happen from 33-38 than 31-36 but either way it's a massive under-performance that suggests something went very wrong beyond standard aging.

Even his reported age 23-32 puts him 2nd in the expansion era to Bonds, by only a bit. If that was actually 25-34, that's still a close second to Bonds at those ages and well ahead of everybody else. If we look at everybody who was above 60 WAR for ages 25-34, Pujols would be tied for last in WAR with Bagwell for ages 35+ (8 WAR). That's 6 behind FRob, 8 behind Rickey, 10 behind Yaz and Clemente ... and 23 behind Aaron and 50 behind Bonds. He went pretty immediately from the elite of the elite to the bottom of the elite. We still would have expected more out of him over the last 5+ years.

I mean his "adjusted" age 35+ is worse than Harold Baines. It's more like borderline non-HoFers like Edmonds, Posada, barely more than Utley. It's less than Mark Grace or Lee Lacy for crying out loud. Less than McGriff, less than Damon. Again, sure, that's more believable from 35-40 than 33-38 but it's not particularly believable at 34-35.

So an age change doesn't really explain the cliff-dive. It makes it a bit more likely but it was still a very low probability outcome. Injury is a much more likely explanation. Heck, going off designer PEDs is probably a more likely explanation. Not having enough sense to change to more of a rake-and-take and get the bat started early approach at the plate is probably a more likely explanation. Or just the weird #### that happens to a tiny handful of players at any age is probably a more likely explanation.

So ... (1) if he is older, I'm highly confident the Angels knew; (2) I don't think we have anything resembling reliable evidence that he's older.
   39. Endless Trash Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:51 AM (#5659699)
nearly started a riot.... gee, let's see, I , maybe 20? The stories in the article are closer to the latter - memorable experiences that might have happened any time.


The damming part isn't that he said he was 12 or 13 at the time, it's that he immediately followed that up by saying something like "now, 28 years later here we are."

Nobody would fault you for misremembering if you were twenty at the time but if you said you were twenty at the time and that it was 19 years ago, I am going to feel confident that you're 39. You might screw up the age but I don't think you're going to screw up the arithmetic.

He then said that dotel is three or four years older than him, which, if its a mistake its a mistake that is exactly consistent with his last one.

I really don't care about the shape of his career and with what ages his stats "make sense" but I agree with the author that this interview makes it quite likely he is now 40 years old.
   40. JAHV Posted: April 25, 2018 at 03:30 AM (#5659701)
This is the first compelling piece of non-circumstantial evidence I've seen that he's older than his stated age. As far as I know (and it's possible I've missed something), everything to this point has been speculation - some about his high school profile, some about his aging curve, some about his country of origin - but there hasn't been anything specific to make it more than an accusation.

And yes, this could be a guy who was simply speaking off the cuff and was off on his dates. But the use of "28 years" stood out to me. He could have said "25 or 30" or been more vague in some way, but he specifically said "28." And while he might not have been 12 or 13 when he hit that homerun off of Dotel, those are the ages he states AND that seems to be a more likely age to have hit that homerun than 10 or 11. AND his comparison to Dotel puts him two years older as well, given Dotel's age.

I've long taken the stance that, without stronger evidence, I would assume Pujols is the age MLB says he is. This evidence is stronger. I'm not completely convinced, but I'm pretty close.
   41. bunyon Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:43 AM (#5659710)
JAHV’s 40 is pretty much where I came down after reading this.
   42. . . . . . . Posted: April 25, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5659720)
One of the premises of #38 is wrong. Pujols was already a legal permanent resident based on this pre-2001 papers by the time 9/11 happened, so he never had to reapply with Dominican documents after the US started scrutinizing them. So his passport et al reflect what the US accepted in the late-90s.

Lots of people (someone in my family included) got permanent residence with bullshit papers pre 2001, and the US never went back and checked those. Once you were in you were in.
   43. Nasty Nate Posted: April 25, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5659722)
Yes, the Fangraphs article I posted above says he had 26 walks, 18 of them intentional during is "senior" year at Fort Osage HS. That doesn't sound like a ton, but when you consider it was only a 60 game schedule and that he hit .660 with 29 HR, there really weren't a lot of opportunities to walk.
I guess I'm ignorant about HS baseball, because 60 seems like a ton of games. 26 BB over that time isn't an extraordinary number of timed.
   44. DavidFoss Posted: April 25, 2018 at 08:26 AM (#5659723)
I agree that the Dotel anecdote is compelling.

I'm a little late, but the age-curves simply are not. Pujols' age curve certainly isn't average or typical but it isn't all that much of an outlier, either. Mantle, Mathews & Griffey were mentioned in the article but there is also Andruw, Medwick, Sisler, Simmons, Pinson, Trosky, etc, etc, etc. (I am not in a position to do a DB search right now) Yeah, a lot of those guys got sick or hurt, but so did Pujols.

TFA tries to hand-wave away Jimmie Foxx saying that he lost years to WWII. Foxx was already in decline in 1942 when he got hurt and then ended up *gaining* years because of WWII.

But yeah, if he remembers that being almost 13 was 28 years ago, that's a more interesting narrative.
   45. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 08:29 AM (#5659726)
Yes, the Fangraphs article I posted above says he had 26 walks, 18 of them intentional during is "senior" year at Fort Osage HS. That doesn't sound like a ton, but when you consider it was only a 60 game schedule and that he hit .660 with 29 HR, there really weren't a lot of opportunities to walk.

I guess I'm ignorant about HS baseball, because 60 seems like a ton of games. 26 BB over that time isn't an extraordinary number of timed.


This looks to be wrong. 60 games was his summer schedule for the "Hi-Boy Drive In/Post 340 American Legion team."

Also from the article:

I’ll close by quoting comments from the Examiner’s Bill Althaus at the start of the 2001 season that confirm Pujols was a local legend before he even got to St. Louis:

The first time I saw Albert Pujols, I thought to myself, ‘What’s that man doing out there with those kids?’
   46. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 08:52 AM (#5659735)
Fort Osage's records only go back to 07--08 and they played 21 games during that time. The next year it was 7 and then 12 after that. Anyway in 1997 Ft Osage played 28 games but they were the 4A champions so they played a bunch of playoff games. Ft. Osage I believe lost in the first round in 1998, Pujols' senior year. So you got to figure around 20+ games.
   47. geonose Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5659893)
Unless Pujols has managed to keep his visa renewed without leaving the country

Pujols is a US citizen. Not sure what that means about proof of his age, but he hasn't had to have a visa in a long time.
   48. bunyon Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5659923)
he hit .660 with 29 HR

They should have walked him more.

The first time I saw Albert Pujols, I thought to myself, ‘What’s that man doing out there with those kids?’

The first time I saw Andruw Jones I thought the same thing even though he was 17 and playing A ball. Of course, I don't mean that the way it sounds - he wasn't larger than everyone else, but he was sooooo much better.

I was 6'4" at age 14 (and never grew another inch, dammit). I'm sure there were junior high games where people thought that.
   49. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5659938)
This is the really amazing one. Equally great pre- and post-30. Maybe Willie is actually 88 instead of 86.

It helps that he basically lost two years in his 20's to military service. He could very well have something like 15 more WAR for his 20's.


He's also slightly helped in his 30s by the schedule increasing to 162 games. Just a bit more each year, but it adds up.
   50. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:59 AM (#5660750)
We had a dude in my high school who was 21.

When I worked in Wisconsin our salad guy was going to graduate just weeks shy of his 21st Birthday. He was not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

I remember at least one guy from my high school who was 20 when he graduated. He wasn't dumb, but he was the child of Mexican migrant workers, so he moved around a lot and also wasn't a native English speaker.
   51. OCF Posted: April 26, 2018 at 01:34 AM (#5660752)
‘What’s that man doing out there with those kids?’

From my own high school football/basketball days, the one person who would have drawn that reaction was Reuben Gant. He was 6'4", 225 lbs in high school; as a football player for a very good Tulsa Washington team he played mostly fullback and sometimes tight end. It was at basketball games where you could really see his physique - he had muscles on top of muscles, no one else looked like that. He was also already done growing. That Pro-Football reference page shows his NFL size as essentially the same as his high school size. And yes, he was a completely normal-aged high school senior.
   52. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 07:36 AM (#5660777)
The two biggest dudes in my high school were Anthony Parker and Derek Rose. Parker was 6'5" in his senior year. Basketball reference said he finished up at 6'6". Rose was an offensive lineman who ended up going to Iowa. He was 6'5" and 265 pounds his senior year. He was an OL starter for Iowa from 1996 to 1998 and was apparently All-Big Ten 2nd team as a center in 1997.
   53. PreservedFish Posted: April 26, 2018 at 07:57 AM (#5660782)
I went to high school with a guy that started going bald when he was maybe 12. At 16 he had the both the skin and hair of a middle-aged man. He certainly looked like a man among boys, but not in the way you want.
   54. Rally Posted: April 26, 2018 at 08:47 AM (#5660803)
I was 6'4" at age 14 (and never grew another inch, dammit). I'm sure there were junior high games where people thought that.


I was 6'3 at 16 and never grew another inch. I don't think anyone assumed I was older since I was super-skinny then (probably 140 pounds). I had a friend in jr high who was about the same height as me, maybe a bit taller, but built like an adult. On a field trip when he was 14 or 15 he went into a bar, sat down and got served with no questions asked.
   55. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 08:51 AM (#5660806)
I went to high school with a guy that started going bald when he was maybe 12. At 16 he had the both the skin and hair of a middle-aged man. He certainly looked like a man among boys, but not in the way you want.


Benjamin Button?
   56. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5660807)
There is this 12 year old and I seem to recall from about 15 odd years ago a kid playing on a foreign country's LL team to also be a giant among boys as an 11 year old.
   57. Rally Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5660883)
Fangraphs today asks the question of whether the Angels could get out of paying the contract.

I don't think there should be any chance, but I'm no lawyer. Yes, it was a bad decision but I don't think the age makes that much of a difference. Either way, Pujols signed with the Angels as approximately a 5 WAR player (5.3 his last year with the Cards, and he had 4.8 his first year as an Angel) who was at an age where you have to expect him to get progressively worse.

Whether he was 32 or 34, it doesn't make much of a difference for year one - either way based on his recent performance you'd project him to around 5 WAR, and expect a decline every year the contract runs. Maybe that decline accelerates a bit if you start from 34 instead of 32, but it's not a huge difference.

The way the Angels structured the contract was to pay 12 million the first year, 16 the next, and increases every year until it gets to 30 in the final year. I look at this as deferred compensation. There is no way they could have gotten his services in 2012-2013 for a combined 28 million, and no way they were expecting 30 million worth of production in 2021.

A simple way to look at it is to turn the contract amounts paid around - say he earned 30 million in 2012, but the team only paid him 12 million. And in 2012 he's only earning 12 million, but paid 30. If somehow it were determined that the remainder of the contract is void, it should not mean the Angels get out of paying 87 million. They should in such a case not have to pay some percentage of that, maybe 30-40 million, but still owe him the bulk of the deal for the discount on salaries paid upfront.
   58. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5660961)
The way the Angels structured the contract was to pay 12 million the first year, 16 the next, and increases every year until it gets to 30 in the final year. I look at this as deferred compensation. There is no way they could have gotten his services in 2012-2013 for a combined 28 million, and no way they were expecting 30 million worth of production in 2021.

A simple way to look at it is to turn the contract amounts paid around - say he earned 30 million in 2012, but the team only paid him 12 million. And in 2012 he's only earning 12 million, but paid 30. If somehow it were determined that the remainder of the contract is void, it should not mean the Angels get out of paying 87 million. They should in such a case not have to pay some percentage of that, maybe 30-40 million, but still owe him the bulk of the deal for the discount on salaries paid upfront.
This is irrelevant to the legal analysis. The Fangraphs article is right that the Angels would have a reasonable argument, but not a slam dunk, if they were to choose to litigate (I am a lawyer, but I don't practice in this area).
   59. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5660972)
I would think age discrimination would come into play. Anyway, I would think the Angels would have to show that Albert's age was an important factor in the contract and that Albert knowingly deceived them. Did they ask Albert and did he lie? If the Angels never asked Pujols and he never lied to them about his age I don't really see what standing they have to void the contract. Does his player contract list a false birth date? Does it have a birth date at all in it?
   60. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5660981)
This is irrelevant to the legal analysis. The Fangraphs article is right that the Angels would have a reasonable argument, but not a slam dunk, if they were to choose to litigate (I am a lawyer, but I don't practice in this area).


Wouldn't it be the ultimate revenge if you were able to prosecute Albert Pujols? I know nothing of the law, but this strikes me as hilarious.
   61. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5660999)
Wouldn't it be the ultimate revenge if you were able to prosecute Albert Pujols?
Well, they wouldn't be able to prosecute him - it's not against the law to lie about your age and get paid a ton of money to suck.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5661007)
Anyway, I would think the Angels would have to show that Albert's age was an important factor in the contract

This is pretty trivial. It's widely known that younger FAs get larger/longer contracts.

and that Albert knowingly deceived them.

This isn't probably that hard. The big issue I see is whether they should have known that he was lying anyway. The rumors were widespread long before they signed him.

If they failed to do their due diligence, I think that makes it hard for them to recover.
   63. shoewizard Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5661012)
I love the BB-REF player comparison tool in the PI

Looking at This and forgetting about shape or arc, his career is basically Frank Thomas or Manny Ramirez at the plate, with good defense and baserunning being the differences between these players.

The OPS+ and oWAR are essentially the same values. But massive differences in Defense/Baserunning and also WPA or "Clutch".

Also struck out a lot less obviously.

I've had little doubt in my mind, (without hard evidence, so I'm a bad person) that Albert was older than stated age. It doesn't change his greatness as a player, especially during his peak. It DOES however bring into question what the Fangraphs article is getting at.

Simply put, if Arte Moreno knows that he is heading into his age 34 season instead of his age 32 season back in 2012 does he still sign him to a ten year deal taking him to age 43 ? I highly doubt that. That's too crazy even for Arte Moreno. But he probably DOES sign him to at least a 7-8 year deal.

And ultimately I think that was Arte's intention.....to sign Albert through his age 41 season. Because thats what he did based on the information he had.

And therefore, not being a lawyer, but just going by what I view as original intent, and fairness , unless it can be proved that the Angels KNEW how old Albert really was when he was signed, and if it's able to be proven in a court that Albert is 2 years older than stated age, (doubtful given the circumstantial nature of the "evidence" in these articles, but IF), then I think the Angels should be allowed to void the last two years of the contract.


Those are pretty big caveats though. I doubt any of that can ever be proven in court.
   64. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5661017)
This is pretty trivial. It's widely known that younger FAs get larger/longer contracts.

Not really. Is it written down? If his age wasn't brought up, wasn't part of the contract, and he did not deceive them during the negotiation process they have no standing to void the contract.
   65. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5661018)
and if it's able to be proven in a court that Albert is 2 years older than stated age, (doubtful given the circumstantial nature of the "evidence" in these articles, but IF)

His age could absolutely be ascertained if this got taken to trial. A birth certificate would be produced and I find it doubtful that Pujols would risk jail time by forging documents or using false documents in a court case.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5661019)
Not really. Is it written down?

Read the Fangraphs article. It doesn't have to be written down. The courts have ruled that oral lies can be deemed fraud in a written contract, and can be used to vacate the contract.

Not really. Is it written down? If his age wasn't brought up, wasn't part of the contract, and he did not deceive them during the negotiation process they have no standing to void the contract.

I've never been able to start a job without providing ID that includes my age. I think it's Federal law.

Pujols almost certainly had to present a passport or similar ID to sign his contract. If that birth date was fraudulent, the Angels have something.
   67. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5661021)
Well, they wouldn't be able to prosecute him - it's not against the law to lie about your age and get paid a ton of money to suck.


Ahh I see what you mean, they would just be attempting to recoup lost money. Like a civil suit or something?
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5661028)
Ahh I see what you mean, they would just be attempting to recoup lost money. Like a civil suit or something?

They'd be attempting to cancel the remainder of the contract. Which would be huge for them.
   69. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5661030)

Read the Fangraphs article. It doesn't have to be written down. The courts have ruled that oral lies can be deemed fraud in a written contract, and can be used to vacate the contract.


Yes, as I said was it brought up. The FG article takes as a starting assumption that he lied to the Angels and goes from there. I'm not starting with that assumption.

To use their car example; instead of a potential buyer saying I'm looking to own a car for a long time so how many miles does this car have the buyer instead looks at the car freshly washed and waxed and assumes it is a brand new car. Under that circumstance the seller didn't lie or deceive the buyer. The buyer made a false assumption.
   70. Batman Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5661037)
Well, they wouldn't be able to prosecute him - it's not against the law to lie about your age and get paid a ton of money to suck.
If you take that literally, it is sometimes against the law for the person who's paying and getting lied to.
   71. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5661040)
Like a civil suit or something?
Exactly. I should have said it's not against *criminal* law to lie about your age and get paid a ton of money to suck. That's what I meant.
   72. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5661044)
The FG article takes as a starting assumption that he lied to the Angels and goes from there. I'm not starting with that assumption.


You think he could sign the contract without showing some kind of ID? Have you ever been able to start a job without producing an ID that has your birth date?
   73. Nasty Nate Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5661050)
You think he could sign the contract without showing some kind of ID?
/// Ozzie Canseco throws chair
   74. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5661051)
They'd be attempting to cancel the remainder of the contract. Which would be huge for them.


The remainder of the contract is still pretty huge so yeah I would agree.
   75. greenback slays lewks Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5661053)
Well, they wouldn't be able to prosecute him - it's not against the law to lie about your age and get paid a ton of money to suck.

If memory serves, one of the many theories about Pujols was that he was actually pretending to be his younger brother. That would be a problem for him in a criminal case.
   76. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5661069)
You think he could sign the contract without showing some kind of ID? Have you ever been able to start a job without producing an ID that has your birth date?

And what is on the ID? If it lists a correct age they have nothing. When does he hand in his ID? Generally it is after you sign the contract. IF so, again, was his age a material part of the negotiation.

To go back to the car example. If you think you're buying a brand new car because it is shiny and clean when in fact it is a 10 year old car and the contract says it is a 10 year old car and you initial right next to that statement you aren't getting your money back 2 months later.
   77. Nasty Nate Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5661076)
If you think you're buying a brand new car because it is shiny and clean when in fact it is a 10 year old car and the contract says it is a 10 year old car and you initial right next to that statement you aren't getting your money back 2 months later.
In this analogy you're assuming Pujols' contract says he was born in '77 or '78?

The whole discussion is based on Pujols not saying he was born in '77 or '78.
   78. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:22 PM (#5661083)
The whole discussion is based on Pujols not saying he was born in '77 or '78.

Well, no. This discussion in on the legal remedy for the Angels should it turn out that Pujols is older than previously thought. The FG article makes many assumptions at the start so that they can write an article about this and I'm still at questioning the assumptions stage. What does Albert's ID state? How old does the state of California and the United States think he is? Was Albert asked about his age during negotiations? What did he say? Were the Angels concerned about his age at the time of negotiations? Was his age material to them? To me those are the things that matter when it comes to the legal side of this potential contract dispute.
   79. Nasty Nate Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5661086)
The FG article makes many assumptions at the start so that they can write an article about this and I'm still at questioning the assumptions stage.
Well if he made it clear to the Angels that he was born in '77-78, obviously they have no beef with him. There would be nothing to discuss in terms of his contract.
   80. bunyon Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5661087)
Did the Cardinals know and, hence, the lower offer?

Part of me hopes it's proved he's two years older than thought, the Angels void his contract and he then signs a NRI with the Rangers, makes the club and hits 60 homers and the World Series.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5661088)
Part of me hopes it's proved he's two years older than thought, the Angels void his contract and he then signs a NRI with the Rangers, makes the club and hits 60 homers and the World Series.
Artie Moreno and the Angels demand an apology from Pujols! And from you too, why not!
   82. greenback slays lewks Posted: April 26, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5661143)
Did the Cardinals know and, hence, the lower offer?

I doubt it. Pujols had much more specific problems, such as a down year in 2011 and known physical concerns, that scared the Cardinals. They did make some sizeable offers to him, but those offers always were lagging behind competing offers, which indicated to me that they were trying to manage the media reaction to his departure.
   83. Rally Posted: April 26, 2018 at 01:50 PM (#5661159)
Did the Cardinals know and, hence, the lower offer?


What was the Cardinals offer? I thought it was not that much lower than the Angels. I think the Marlins made an even bigger offer, but almost certainly did not include a no-trade clause and Pujols was probably not interested in the inevitable salary dump trade after year 1 there.
   84. bunyon Posted: April 26, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5661164)
I thought the Cards offer was similar AAV but not as many years.
   85. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5661166)
You think he could sign the contract without showing some kind of ID? Have you ever been able to start a job without producing an ID that has your birth date?
I've never been asked for ID when applying for a job. (What, do you think they didn't know who Al Pujols was?)

Now, I have had -- like everyone else, since it's federal law -- to show ID after I've been hired, so that they could verify that I was entitled to work in the United States. But that's bureaucratic paperwork for HR, that nobody looks at and that just gets stuck in your personnel file in case there's a government audit to make sure that the employer isn't employing illegal aliens. (You're not required to show ID that has a birthdate, though the vast majority of people would, but you have to fill out the form and there's a spot for birthdate.)
   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5661198)
Now, I have had -- like everyone else, since it's federal law -- to show ID after I've been hired, so that they could verify that I was entitled to work in the United States.

Right. But you're not actually getting paid until you present that proof. It's just a job offer until then, which they will revoke if you can't legally work in the US.
   87. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 26, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5661228)
Now, I have had -- like everyone else, since it's federal law -- to show ID after I've been hired, so that they could verify that I was entitled to work in the United States. But that's bureaucratic paperwork for HR, that nobody looks at and that just gets stuck in your personnel file in case there's a government audit to make sure that the employer isn't employing illegal aliens.


I would expect Major League Baseball teams to be part of the eVerify program so someone is looking at it even if "someone" is a USCIS server somewhere.
   88. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5661248)
Part of me hopes it's proved he's two years older than thought, the Angels void his contract and he then signs a NRI with the Rangers, makes the club and hits 60 homers and the World Series.
...and poses for a Colon-Pujols-Odor photo with the Rangers. That should be a provision of his new contract.
   89. BDC Posted: April 26, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5661257)
it's proved he's two years older than thought, the Angels void his contract

What if it turns out that Vernon Wells, Gary Matthews Jr, and Josh Hamilton were all two years older than thought?
   90. bunyon Posted: April 26, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5661313)
it's proved he's two years older than thought, the Angels void his contract

What if it turns out that Vernon Wells, Gary Matthews Jr, and Josh Hamilton were all two years older than thought?


Turns out they Angels have gotten all the correct birthdates but are just really bad at arithmetic.

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