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Friday, September 02, 2016

The Decline of Albert Pujols Underscores the Greatness of Frank Thomas

Piling on Phat Albert.

“Frank Thomas was a first-ballot HOFer, but in some respects he might be modestly underrated as a hitter. I suspect it’s because Thomas, like Pujols, endured an extended decline phase that began after his last truly great season (at age 32). But unlike Pujols, Thomas was actually a very good hitter deep into his 30s; Pujols (and the Angels) would kill for this kind of production.”

gehrig97 Posted: September 02, 2016 at 10:00 AM | 113 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, babe ruth, barry bonds, frank thomas, hank aaron, lou gehrig, mickey mantle, pujols, ted williams, ty cobb, willie mays

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   1. Rally Posted: September 02, 2016 at 10:55 AM (#5294317)
Age 33

Pujols 116 OPS+, 443 PA
Thomas 94 OPS+, 79 PA
Advantage: Albert

Age 34

Pujols 126 OPS+, 695 PA
Thomas 119 OPS+, 628 PA
Advantage: Albert

Age 35

Pujols 117 OPS+, 661 PA
Thomas 146 OPS+, 662 PA
Advantage: Frank

Age 36

Pujols 111 OPS+, 552 PA (so far)
Thomas 156 OPS+, 311 PA
Advantage: Frank

Thomas at 37 only played 34 games, he hit for power but his OBP was only .315

Angels would be ecstatic if Albert can, as a full time DH, stay healthy and OPS+ 140 and 125 when he's 38-39.

WAR, ages 33-36:

Albert 9.6
Frank 9.0

If Albert can hit like Frank for age 37-40 he'll finish with 671 homers (plus whatever he gets in September), almost 3200 hits, over 2000 RBI, and 107 WAR.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:00 AM (#5294320)
Pujols (and the Angels) would kill for this kind of production.


I think the more relevant question is who Pujols and the Angels would kill for this kind of production. Metrics mean nothing without context.
   3. bbmck Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:12 AM (#5294327)
Debut after Mantle in 1954, min 2000 PA in Age 22-29 seasons and Frank Thomas has the highest OPS+ but by WAR for those criteria among non-HoF and Big Hurt and rest of Andruw, Frank and Rolen's careers at the bottom of list:

Player              WAR/pos OPSRfield Rbaser   PA
Albert Pujols          67.1  174   99.9   14.1 5406
Alex Rodriguez         66.0  151   32.7   30.3 5577
Barry Bonds            62.7  163  134.7   24.2 4919
Andruw Jones           47.1  119  156.5   11.2 5406
Frank Thomas           46.8  182  
-55.6   -4.4 4790

Scott Rolen            46.1  133   91.3   16.5 4976
Miguel Cabrera         43.1  157  
-56.0  -13.2 5443
Jeff Bagwell           43.0  159   36.6   21.2 4410
Bobby Bonds            43.0  133   33.5   40.9 5236
Alan Trammell          42.9  119   57.5   17.6 4877

Dick Allen             42.9  160  
-86.5   13.3 4848
Evan Longoria          42.6  128   77.0    3.5 4789
Tim Raines             42.1  133    5.7   70.4 5231
Ivan Rodriguez         41.8  118  118.0    6.6 4361
Jim Fregosi            41.3  117   37.5    9.1 5078

Nomar Garciaparra      41.2  134   41.2    1.8 4176
Derek Jeter            40.7  122  
-95.7   35.9 5472
Chuck Knoblauch        40.6  112   51.8   33.7 5279
Bobby Grich            40.5  124   71.4    8.8 4056

Vladimir Guerrero      40.2  150   18.0    3.1 4873
Chet Lemon             40.1  132   85.7   
-7.6 4321
Carlos Beltran         40.0  116   44.8   47.3 5115
Reggie Smith           40.0  133   57.0    8.6 4836

Andruw Jones           10.9  104   63.2    2.1 1211
Scott Rolen            
-0.3   90   -3.9   -0.7  146
Frank Thomas           26.8  134   
-9.2  -19.5 5285
Scott Rolen            24.2  107   88.0   
-3.3 3396
Andruw Jones            4.9   92   16.0   
-4.2 2047 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/2/2016.

The rest of Frank's career doesn't suck but neither do those of Rolen or Andruw. Frank gets 1st ballot HoF induction because hitting really well is easy to grasp and easily provable, it's quite possible that Andruw and Rolen are never inducted into the HoF. Frank's career WAR of 73.7 is higher than Pujol's 8 year run, so he has that going for him.
   4. shoewizard Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:18 AM (#5294331)
These "age" based comparisons would be a lot more meaningful if we could be absolutely sure about Alberts true age.
   5. shoewizard Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:22 AM (#5294336)
On the other hand, all this did was make me take a closer look at these two players side by side and conclude that Albert was every much the equal of Frank Thomas as a hitter and obviously a far better fielder and baserunner and all around baseball player. So without reading TFA this helps me appreciate the greatness of Albert Pujols
   6. BDC Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:43 AM (#5294362)
As AROM's comparison shows, Thomas had good rate stats in his mid-30s but missed a lot of games. Pujols has already played far more games at ages 33-36 than Thomas did at 33-37.

And then Thomas came back and sealed his already-strong HOF case with two strong seasons at ages 38-39, but I wouldn't bet a whole lot against Pujols doing the same. IOW "unlike Pujols, Thomas was actually a very good hitter deep into his 30s; Pujols (and the Angels) would kill for this kind of production" is still something of an open question (as well as a bit of a loaded one).
   7. gehrig97 Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:47 AM (#5294366)
@5: Yep, the article acknowledges that Pujols was/is the far superior all-around player. Thomas was essentially immobile by his mid-20s, and just terrible with the glove before being moved off 1B.

But it's striking (to me, at least) to think that Pujols may drop out of the top-25 all-time in OPS+ (admittedly, we're cherry-picking measurements here). Through his first decade in the game, he was building a case as one of the 10 or so best hitters in history (not that there's anything wrong with being among the top 25 or 30 hitters).
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 02, 2016 at 12:01 PM (#5294379)
@5: Yep, the article acknowledges that Pujols was/is the far superior all-around player. Thomas was essentially immobile by his mid-20s, and just terrible with the glove before being moved off 1B.

Which is reflected in their respective career WAR:

Thomas 73.7

Pujols (so far) 100.8
   9. bbmck Posted: September 02, 2016 at 12:24 PM (#5294409)
Career Rbat, 2012-16 Ryan Howard is -24.1 rBat, 95 OPS+ and 2061 PA, if Pujols hits the same relative to league average the next 5 years with 3000ish PA he drops below Big Hurt and Brouthers, he would need to hit like Frenchy and remain a full-time player for next 5 years to get down to "only" A-Rod in career Rbat:

Player             Rbat OPSFrom   To   Age    PA
Babe Ruth        1335.4  206 1914 1935 19
-40 10622
Barry Bonds      1128.5  182 1986 2007 21
-42 12606
Ted Williams     1069.3  190 1939 1960 20
-41  9788
Ty Cobb           995.8  168 1905 1928 18
-41 13087
Lou Gehrig        971.4  179 1923 1939 20
-36  9663

Stan Musial       885.3  159 1941 1963 20
-42 12718
Hank Aaron        875.1  155 1954 1976 20
-42 13941
Rogers Hornsby    861.3  175 1915 1937 19
-41  9480
Tris Speaker      819.2  157 1907 1928 19
-40 11995
Willie Mays       808.8  156 1951 1973 20
-42 12496

Mickey Mantle     802.4  172 1951 1968 19
-36  9907
Mel Ott           775.3  155 1926 1947 17
-38 11348
Jimmie Foxx       759.2  163 1925 1945 17
-37  9676
Frank Robinson    729.7  154 1956 1976 20
-40 11742
Albert Pujols     703.1  157 2001 2016 21
-36 10454

Frank Thomas      690.6  156 1990 2008 22
-40 10075
Dan Brouthers     687.7  170 1879 1904 21
-46  7676
Manny Ramirez     651.3  154 1993 2011 21
-39  9774
Alex Rodriguez    641.9  140 1994 2016 18
-40 12207
Honus Wagner      639.2  151 1897 1917 23
-43 11749

Cap Anson         629.3  142 1871 1897 19
-45 11331
Eddie Collins     627.8  142 1906 1930 19
-43 12046
Jeff Bagwell      591.0  149 1991 2005 23
-37  9431
Jim Thome         587.3  147 1991 2012 20
-41 10313

Roger Connor      582.2  153 1880 1897 22
-39  8847
Nap Lajoie        576.6  150 1896 1916 21
-41 10461
Ed Delahanty      570.9  152 1888 1903 20
-35  8400
Miguel Cabrera    568.0  154 2003 2016 20
-33  8878 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/2/2016.

Rose has -35 Rbat Age 41-45 in 2469 PA so if Pujols hits like Howard but more PA and then goes the player-manager route to limp his way to the career HR record that would be another path to A-Rod.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: September 02, 2016 at 12:50 PM (#5294436)
Back in the debates about the money/years Albert should/would get in FA, I looked at such elite hitters. In terms of quality (not necessarily quantity) they nearly all remained excellent hitters. Thomas' late career was, in OPS+ terms, actually pretty much the worst of the comparison group.** Thomas was fairly durable though by age 32+ standards (or whatever).

Alas, it looks like Albert is going to assume the "worst of the aging greats in terms of hitting quality" title -- an awkwardly named award but that's OK because the only reason you want it is that it means at least you were great once. Now we can turn our attention to Miggy and arguably Votto to see where they'll rank compared to Aaron.***

** This comparison group is folks like Musial, Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Williams, etc. I forget where I set the lower bound but it was high enough to exclude a guy like ARod who was a great hitter for a SS/3B but (with rare exception) not the hitter these guys were.

*** Arguably neither was quite great enough to merit consideration. Miggy didn't really become an elite elite hitter until age 27, he was just really f'ing good before that. Votto got a late start and had that lousy age 30 "season." But I usually consider Miggy in the super elite -- never really occurred to me until now that Votto merits consideration.
   11. bbmck Posted: September 02, 2016 at 12:51 PM (#5294437)
Pujols' decline, 26th-40th highest OPS+ 2013-2016 min 2000 PA:

Player             OPS+   PA   Age   BA  OBP  SLG
Evan Longoria       121 2623 27
-30 .268 .331 .467
Manny Machado       121 2348 20
-23 .289 .339 .484
Daniel Murphy       121 2395 28
-31 .297 .337 .459
Christian Yelich    121 2005 21
-24 .296 .371 .431
Jonathan Lucroy     119 2111 27
-30 .287 .352 .457

Starling Marte      119 2254 24
-27 .291 .348 .446
Carlos Beltran      118 2071 36
-39 .277 .329 .472
Albert Pujols       118 2351 33
-36 .259 .320 .461
Justin Upton        118 2420 25
-28 .256 .333 .456
Carlos Santana      117 2526 27
-30 .244 .362 .436

Ben Zobrist         117 2420 32
-35 .275 .362 .419
Neil Walker         116 2183 27
-30 .268 .339 .446
Matt Kemp           115 2095 28
-31 .270 .318 .462
Mike Napoli         115 2078 31
-34 .248 .350 .454
Nolan Arenado       114 2221 22
-25 .284 .330 .521 

Pujols' decline, 31st-45th highest OPS+ Age 33-36 min 2000 PA among players who played in 2000 or any more recent season:

Player              OPS+   PA   To   BA  OBP  SLG
Mark Grace           122 2661 2000 .305 .398 .462
Hideki Matsui        121 2098 2010 .281 .366 .474
Raul Ibanez          121 2732 2008 .288 .354 .478
David Justice        121 2046 2002 .272 .377 .483
Andres Galarraga     121 2418 1997 .305 .359 .572

Barry Larkin         120 2036 2000 .306 .399 .468
Albert Pujols        118 2351 2016 .259 .320 .461
Brady Anderson       118 2580 2000 .267 .384 .449
Bobby Abreu          117 2717 2010 .282 .371 .447
Fred McGriff         117 2574 2000 .287 .376 .471

Todd Helton          116 2161 2010 .298 .405 .447
Ichiro Suzuki        116 2895 2010 .332 .375 .418
Reggie Sanders       115 2052 2004 .264 .330 .512
Vladimir Guerrero    114 2240 2011 .297 .341 .474
Bernie Williams      112 2417 2005 .280 .369 .431 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/2/2016.
   12. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: September 02, 2016 at 01:16 PM (#5294454)
Rbat, ages 32-36:

Thomas 132
Pujols 78 (so far)

I knew Pujols wasn't hitting like he did 10 years ago, but wow.
   13. Rally Posted: September 02, 2016 at 01:29 PM (#5294463)
Yep, the article acknowledges that Pujols was/is the far superior all-around player.


I think was is the correct word. Albert at 36 probably could play 1B better than Thomas could at the same age (or than Thomas could at age 24), but it's irrelevant because he's not likely to play there much more. He's been the DH 100 times this year, first base 28. As he missed the most recent game with foot problems, he's likely to play even more exclusively at DH going forward.
   14. Cargo Cultist Posted: September 02, 2016 at 01:30 PM (#5294464)
I think the more relevant question is who Pujols and the Angels would kill for this kind of production


Anyone on the Angels except for Trout and Simmons is just fine with me.
   15. bbmck Posted: September 02, 2016 at 02:09 PM (#5294479)
35 players have 150+ OPS+ through Age 30 with min 3000 PA and debuted since Ruth. Among those players three lowest OPS+ or all under 130 in 5 year spans min 1500 PA, bold is final 5 years of career (so far) and that player is excluded below that line:

Age 20-24: Barry 128, Manny 138, Sisler 138... Trout 173
Age 21-25: Barry 133, Manny 140, Bagwell 140
Age 22-26: Boggs 135, McCovey 137, Manny 143, Barry 143
Age 23-27: Boggs 140, Hack 141, McCovey 142
Age 24-28: Boggs 143, Hack 145, Reggie 150, McCovey 150

Age 25-29: Hack 150, Boggs 151, Reggie 151, McCovey 151
Age 26-30: Mathews 150, Vlad 153, McGriff 153, Klein 153
Age 27-31: Sisler 145, McGriff 146, Kiner 147, Klein 147
Age 28-32: Sisler 127, McGriff 139, Klein 139... Kiner 141, Votto 160
Age 29-33: Sisler 113, Klein 119, McGriff 128... Miggy 165

Age 30-34: Sisler 97, Klein 117, McGriff 121, Mathews 127... Hack 140
Age 31-35: Sisler 99, Klein 110, McGriff 120, Boggs 121, Mathews 122... Keller 115 in 572 PA, DAllen 133
Age 32-36: Klein 100, Sisler 101, Mathews 114, McGriff 118, Boggs 120, Vlad 122, Pujols 123, Piazza 126... Greenberg 152 in 1426 PA, DiMaggio 152, Mantle 156, Gehrig 166
Age 33-37: Sisler 96, Boggs 119, Piazza 120, McGriff 122, Bagwell 129... Foxx 118 in 1200 PA
Age 34-38: Boggs 110, Piazza 111, Reggie 124, McGriff 126... Ott 144

Age 35-39: Boggs 112, Reggie 115, McGriff 126, Mize 129.... Klein 60 in 525 PA, Manny 145
Age 36-40: Boggs 110, Reggie 114, McGriff 119, McCovey 125... Mize 115 in 1416 PA, FThomas 130, FRobinson 141, Ruth 189
Age 37-41: Boggs 102, Reggie 102, McCovey 113, Musial 127... Hornsby 129 in 235 PA, Ted 182
Age 38-42: McCovey 105, Musial 118... Aaron 132, Mays 133, Barry 206
   16. Frank Fregoli Posted: September 02, 2016 at 02:10 PM (#5294480)
Can we pretend the Angels don't exist and Pujols retired in 2011?
   17. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 02, 2016 at 03:23 PM (#5294507)
It continues to seem true to me that Pujols' career stat line makes a lot more sense if he's 39 right now rather than 36.
   18. bbmck Posted: September 02, 2016 at 03:32 PM (#5294513)
The Pujols line with 172 OPS+ is officially Age 21-30, the remaining 24 lines are best OPS+ min 3000 PA for officially Age 24-33 including Pujols with "only" 165 OPS+:

Player                 OPSWAR/pos Rfield Rbaser   PA   To
Babe Ruth               218   103.7   73.0  
-10.7 6179 1928
Lou Gehrig              191    90.1    1.0  
-14.1 7006 1936
Ted Williams            190    49.8   
-1.0    6.0 3835 1952
Rogers Hornsby          188    93.1   27.0   
-5.5 6394 1929
Mickey Mantle           185    70.0  
-28.7   35.9 5575 1965

Ty Cobb                 185    77.1  
-12.0   37.8 5709 1920
Dan Brouthers           180    57.9   
-6.0  -13.5 5158 1891
Barry Bonds             175    84.1  148.6   29.2 6391 1998
Stan Musial             172    72.6    5.8   
-1.0 6204 1954
Johnny Mize             172    46.6    5.0    0.8 4163 1946

Jimmie Foxx             172    70.5   12.0   
-2.1 6490 1941
Albert Pujols           172    81.2  113.7   15.3 6782 2010
Hank Greenberg          167    35.8    6.0    2.6 3505 1941
Shoeless Joe Jackson    167    52.3    7.0   
-4.5 4927 1920
Ed Delahanty            167    60.8   43.0   
-3.2 5993 1901

Roger Connor            167    58.5   80.0   
-8.1 5185 1891
Frank Thomas            166    49.4  
-59.6   -4.6 5937 2001
Frank Robinson          166    64.6    2.9   21.7 6209 1969
Nap Lajoie              166    66.7   92.0   
-6.2 5045 1908
Albert Pujols           165    72.0  130.0   11.3 6510 2013

Willie Mays             165    93.2  120.0   48.7 6694 1964
Tris Speaker            165    77.3   70.0   
-0.8 6272 1921
Willie McCovey          164    49.3  
-30.1   -5.3 5360 1971
Joe DiMaggio            164    47.3   24.0    5.8 4235 1948
Hank Aaron              163    81.8   69.4   43.0 6703 1967 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/2/2016.
   19. shoewizard Posted: September 02, 2016 at 06:26 PM (#5294591)
But it's striking (to me, at least) to think that Pujols may drop out of the top-25 all-time in OPS+ (admittedly, we're cherry-picking measurements here). Through his first decade in the game, he was building a case as one of the 10 or so best hitters in history (not that there's anything wrong with being among the top 25 or 30 hitters).


with regards to what gehrig 97 is saying in #7, see comment #88 HERE.

That comment was a cut a paste from something I wrote in April of 2013.

I was trying to say , somewhat clumsily, the same thing. For a guy that had the combination of Batting avg and Power that he had to fall off this was was very unusual to say the least. I might have been engaged is some hyperbole by saying unprecedented, but pretty close to it.

   20. gehrig97 Posted: September 02, 2016 at 08:31 PM (#5294624)
Yeah, I hate to say it but Pujols is basically Joe Carter now. That said, he's had an astounding career.
   21. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 02, 2016 at 10:19 PM (#5294670)
It continues to seem true to me that Pujols' career stat line makes a lot more sense if he's 39 right now rather than 36.


Any idea why he wasn't able to make the majors until age 24 then?
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: September 02, 2016 at 10:49 PM (#5294684)
Any idea why he wasn't able to make the majors until age 24 then?


Because racist like to say stupid isht "oh he's a dominican, so he must be lying about his age" ....He started lying about his age when he was 18 and pretended to be 14.....seriously, that is what they are implying when they say this crap, that Pujols, who was scouted when he was 15-16 years old, must have been lying at that point in time and was actually 18 pretending to be 14. (he's been in the U.S. since he was 18) the Cardinals spent a lot of money trying to verify his age before they signed his first extension, but heck professional investigators have nothing on some random racist schmuck on the internet who can just "tell" he is lying.
   23. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:03 PM (#5294692)
The Angels need to make Pujols great again.
   24. eric Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:04 PM (#5294695)
As someone in my late 30's, I can say that Pujols's performance in his 30's pretty closely mirrors my own decline in physical acumen during those same ages. I didn't really feel any worse for wear at 30, but by 35 I was a shadow of what I was.

But it's not racism to suspect age doctoring. It's knowing the history of Dominican-born players.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:27 PM (#5294698)
But it's not racism to suspect age doctoring. It's knowing the history of Dominican-born players.


Suspect is different than certainty. Innocent until proven guilty is a good philosophy in life, not just in the court system.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:35 PM (#5294699)
The Angels need to make Pujols great again.


Pujols since the all star break. .291/.320/.515/.835 11 hr, 43 rbi in 42 games/175 pa and only 22 strikeouts, decent enough, he needs to exhibit a bit more plate discipline, but the rest of his offensive line is good enough,

He's not Albert anymore, and part of that is that he doesn't play the field (which hurts his war massively) but it's possible he can't play the field anymore at even an average level.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:35 PM (#5294700)
Pujols, who was scouted when he was 15-16 years old, must have been lying at that point in time and was actually 18


This doesn't seem so outrageous. He emigrated before 9/11, when fake ages were commonplace among Dominican prospects.

Apparently opposing high school coaches intentionally walked Pujols, in protest, because they didn't believe he was of high school age.

Pujols at age 21 looked (and played) like a man much older than that. He still seems older than he's supposed to be.

You state that the Cardinals spent a lot of time and money trying to verify his age. So, even the people that knew him best were intensely suspicious.

Heck. When he was 19 he married an older woman who already had a child.

You really can't get too angry about people lining up these rather obvious points. I don't have an opinion on his age one way or the other. But there isn't a hint of racism in this thread.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:41 PM (#5294703)
Any idea why he wasn't able to make the majors until age 24 then?


This is not a good rebuttal. Pujols spent only a single year in the minors. He was promoted as quickly as any draftee could ever dream to be.

Suspect is different than certainty. Innocent until proven guilty is a good philosophy in life, not just in the court system.


Great. I agree. Show me the comment where someone is "certain" that Pujols uses a fraudulent age.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: September 02, 2016 at 11:51 PM (#5294711)
The simple act of questioning his age is racism. Sorry but "he's dominican, and he is a better player than the guys he played against therefore he must be older" at 18 is pretty much wiped out by he is ANY AGE and one of the best hitters of all time.

The evidence for Albert being older is because he was dominican and was a better player than the other players..... he was in the majors, he was still a dominican, and he was still better than the other players....at some point in time continuing this argument is simple racism. We are talking about a guy who was investigate by his own team into his age, we are talking about a guy who has visited the Dominican Republic multiple times since 9/11 with the increased scrutiny on ID and has past every single time. Again, continuing the argument is simple racism.

As it stands, Albert is the age he, MLB, the U.S. government, his American High School, the Cardinals and Angels private investigators say he is. It boils down to a few high school coaches in the bible belt who thought he was older....Oh wait, and he married an older woman....seriously????? did someone actually use that as an argument he is older than he says, and their brain didn't explode for being too stupid to live? I mean, that is an actual valid argument that is considered to be on par with the U.S. government multiple checks on his background? Sure.... that makes sense. I'm fully convinced.
   30. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 03, 2016 at 12:09 AM (#5294716)
The simple act of questioning his age is racism.


I'm the one who thinks everything is about race, and I don't think this statement is at all supportable. I agree that this is a dicey area and a lot of people stray into ugly places with it, but there's a long track record of Dominican players of Pujols' generation fudging their ages. I'm of no opinion as to Pujols' real age, but it is not entirely outrageous to believe it possible that he might be older than his B-R page says he is. The statement above is a textbook example of using identity as a cudgel with which to beat people with whom you disagree, in an attempt to shut down their arguments, not on their merits, but because of (a) who they are or (b) who they're discussing.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 12:17 AM (#5294720)
I don't think people who support racist beliefs are racists, but I do think espousing a clearly racist concept is a racist act. It doesn't mean the individual is racist, it means they have a racist thought in their head, or more accurately a stereotype that they are accepting as fact----I'm pro-death penalty, the death penalty is absolutely in practice racist, denying it, is just idiocy, but I support the concept while acknowledging the racist reality behind it...the point is that accusing every Dominican of agegate, is inherently racist, regardless of the fact that you can feel comfortable doing it because a significant portion has been discovered--- roughly 10%(well probably closer to 2%, but we'll lie to make people feel better)--or so---have been caught doing it.....so sure, assume the 10% as the norm, instead of the reality that MOST DOMINICANS are innocent of agegate. And the primary reason that Pujols was accused of it is that he was a better hitter than the other kids he was playing against.....he hit the majors and was also a better hitter than the guys he was playing against, isn't that a pretty compelling evidence he didn't lie about his age? (well at least on par with he is Dominican)
   32. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 03, 2016 at 01:25 AM (#5294738)
This is not a good rebuttal. Pujols spent only a single year in the minors. He was promoted as quickly as any draftee could ever dream to be.


No, it's an excellent rebuttal. Players with such extreme talent are almost always in the Majors by age 21, not making it till age 24 is incredibly rare outside of special circumstances like Ichiro. A-Rod was 18 when first promoted, and it was his first minor league season. Apparently Alex dreamt a little bigger, as usual.

Albert also improved substantially from his one minor league season to his rookie year, the type of improvement that is much easier to come by ages 20-21 than 23-24.

Edit: Remember that Albert, for all those coaches complaints, wasn't heavily recruited out of high school either, and after a season at junior college wasn't drafted till the 13th round. If you believe that 3 years older timeline, you believe that one of the greatest players in MLB history wasn't obviously good at ages 21 - 22, ages where A-Rod and Griffey were among the best players in the world, yet Albert suddenly became the best player in the world a few years later.
   33. Sunday silence Posted: September 03, 2016 at 02:06 AM (#5294741)
I dont understand: You can be in favor of the death penalty; without being racist.

But you cant question Pujols age without being racist. Do I have that right? HOw does that work?
   34. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: September 03, 2016 at 06:03 AM (#5294743)
Serious question: will Albert be the last Dominican to be painted with the age thing in MLB? All of them coming up are post-9/11 emigrees (heck, some of them were BORN post-9/11) with additional scrutiny.

If a Pujols clone came up next year, would age-guessing be a legit thing?

   35. BDC Posted: September 03, 2016 at 08:15 AM (#5294753)
Pujols has had an OPS+ of 115 over the past two seasons. It's interesting that the guys who've been in that range at ages 38-39 include some great players (Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose); but they also include Rico Carty and Steve Finley. There are a lot more such players around 115 at ages 35-36 (Pujols' listed ages) but they're a similar range of talent: Dode Paskert and Jeff Conine are among them, but so are Wade Boggs, Carl Yastrzemski, and Joe Morgan. Pujols has been a good bit better than some elite hitters when they reached 35-36, including Ernie Banks and Paul Waner.

Joe DiMaggio, often compared to the young Pujols, was at 116 at age 36 and then he was done. Eddie Mathews and Joe Medwick, other guys who broke in extremely strong, were far weaker hitters at 36 and also done. I just think that players age (and/or get hurt) individually, and trying to fit their actual aging curves to some ideal norm is futile.

Now I realize that the warrant is but he was Albert F. Pujols and nobody that great has ever aged like this but the sample size of guys as great as the young Pujols is countable on not much more than one hand. When he was 36, Rogers Hornsby, one of the few guys ever to be as good as the younger Pujols, batted .224 in 58 at-bats. Nobody was suggesting that Hornsby must have been born in 1893 instead of 1896 :)
   36. DavidFoss Posted: September 03, 2016 at 08:19 AM (#5294754)
@34
They do extra age checks now. Miguel Sano was always big for his age so they subjected him to bone scans.

As far as aging in their early 30s, it's not all that uncommon. Jimmie Foxx could be a good comp. lots of the famous 'early starters' (mantle, ott, Mathews) didn't play onto their late 30s
   37. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 03, 2016 at 08:41 AM (#5294758)
I have a friend who is friends with Jett Bandy. So this is second hand info, but I've been told that Pujols lies in a bathtub full of ice after every game. So it seems he's reached the point where his body is just beat up.
   38. Oscar Geronimo Posted: September 03, 2016 at 09:55 AM (#5294763)
Those who fight over Pujols' age are missing the point: The Shift is the big reason Pujols' decline is so pronounced. Check his BABIP: He lost 50 points off his BABIP since turning 30, which is pretty atypical, even for aging sluggers - Miguel Cabrera, for example, maintains the same mid .300 BABIPs into his 30s.
Pujols is looking so much worse because he simply hasn't been able to counter teams shifting meticulously on him, which also drove a drop in his K-BB because pitchers are no longer afraid to throw strikes.
The power is still there, as we can see this year. (One wonders if he would have had such an amazing decade if teams employed the shift as much in the 00s.)
   39. Internet Commenter Posted: September 03, 2016 at 10:07 AM (#5294766)
I've never had the sense that the suspicions about Pujols were in any way malicious. The guy is as close to universally well-liked as possible and has been for as long as I can remember. Even now, it's more about trying to rationalize why Pujols isn't as good as it seems like he "should" be at this point in his career. Frankly, the age suspicions have probably helped keep him clear of PED suspicions.
   40. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 03, 2016 at 10:56 AM (#5294775)
I'm not buying that the shift is the reason for Albert's decline. He's lost batspeed in a way that Cabrera just hasn't. Weaker contact = lower BABIP. It's as simple as that.
   41. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 03, 2016 at 12:00 PM (#5294790)
He's lost batspeed in a way that Cabrera just hasn't.


Yet. Miggy's three years younger. Albert's BABIP collapsed at 33, so Miggy's really only got a one year advantage over Albert on the whole aging curve thing so far.
   42. Benny Distefano's Mitt Posted: September 03, 2016 at 12:54 PM (#5294799)
Pujols hasn't been the same since he broke his left wrist in 2011. Pre-injury: bad-ass. Post-injury: okay-ass.
   43. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 03, 2016 at 01:31 PM (#5294810)
Pujols 2011:

pre-injury -- 279/355/500 (11 2B, 17 HR)
post-injury -- 318/375/579 (18 2B, 20 HR)

Wrist injuries are hell, and that one looked particularly horrific, but it really didn't seem to have much of an immediate effect.
   44. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 03, 2016 at 03:34 PM (#5294858)
He's had a bunch of injuries, that's how you decline early. If he has a year or two where he's lucky and doesn't hurt anything I expect we'll see a bounce back.
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 03:36 PM (#5294861)
I dont understand: You can be in favor of the death penalty; without being racist.

But you cant question Pujols age without being racist. Do I have that right? HOw does that work?


No, you can be neither or both racist, but simply speaking, if you don't acknowledge the inherent racism of your viewpoint, even if you yourself don't feel like you are racist, then you are probably racist. You can say "hey, I know this sounds racist, but you have to question Pujols age." That is a legit self realized viewpoint. But just saying "you have to question his age, because he's dominican....and a bunch of bible belt coaches thought he was lying."....well that is a pretty f-ing racist viewpoint.


Evidence that Pujols lied about his age.
1. He's from the Dominican.
2. A bunch of bible belt coaches thought he was.
3. he married an older women
4. he started balding at 21.
5. he out hit everyone in his supposed age group.

That is the evidence for assuming he lied.

Evidence that he didn't.
1. He's been claiming he is the age he claims to be since he was claiming to be 16 years old
2. U.S. government has verified his age claim multiple times since 9/11 under increased scrutiny.
3. Cardinals researched it, and spent decent money verifying his age claim and has discovered nothing.
4. He out hit everyone in the majors, regardless of their ages, indicating that he was a fantastic talent.


I personally think the second portion is much more compelling than the first portion, which effectively relies on innuendo and racism.
   46. shoewizard Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:36 PM (#5294896)
Being from the DR isn't a "race". It's a Nationality. And it's a country who's youth and amateur baseball apparatus has been known to systematically encourage and even help provide questionable age documentation to players from that country.

Not that it has never happened from other countries, whether Latin America or otherwise, but it's a reality that many more players from the DR have been caught falsifying their age than from any other country.

So questioning whether or not a player from the DR is really the age they say they are is not inherently racist. And it's absurd for CFB to paint with such a wide brush here.

At worst, people may be uninformed or even ignorant of the details regarding the particulars of Albert's case, and CFB makes some good points regarding the strength of evidence to support his age is real.

Stating an un informed opinion does not = racism.

That is all. Really.

   47. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:44 PM (#5294900)
A bunch of bible belt coaches thought he was

And it's absurd for CFB to paint with such a wide brush here.

That's apparently what he does.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:51 PM (#5294904)
Being from the DR isn't a "race". It's a Nationality.


yep, the pedantic crap I predicted in a previous post. (it's like the gun nutter idiots getting upset because a gun that wasn't an Ar-15 being called an ar-15)
   49. PreservedFish Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:54 PM (#5294906)
That's apparently what he does.


Uh, yeah, that's what he does. It's best not to get too involved in an argument with CFB. He exaggerates, uses words carelessly, makes lazy assumptions, makes grand subjective pronouncements. This thread is a nice example.

The really funny thing is that his arguments here, 100% of them, stem from his team partisanship.
   50. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:56 PM (#5294908)
Being from the DR isn't a "race". It's a Nationality. And it's a country who's youth and amateur baseball apparatus has been known to systematically encourage and even help provide questionable age documentation to players from that country.


And again, even with that systematic system in place a very, very few minority of players have actually made it to the majors with their incorrect age.

That's apparently what he does.


Yep, I'm the one with a wide brush in comparison to people who have ZERO evidence are accusing a guy for being older than he claims, simply because he came from the DR. Yep.... you are right, please continue to vote for Trump and believe in completely stupid ideas like RBI's is indicative of how good a player really is.
   51. shoewizard Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:58 PM (#5294911)
Now you are just being obtuse and clearly the only idiot here.

It's not pedantic at all.

You like to make arguments based on evidence.

Is it NOT true that the DR has had more issue than any other country with regards to age falsification (in MLB) ?

Address this simple question first and only this question, and then we can talk in a rational manner, as then you might understand the underpinnings of people's suspicions.

Otherwise you are just a hot head making wild accusations about people you know nothing about, and you look like a fool.
   52. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 04:59 PM (#5294913)
The really funny thing is that his arguments here, 100% of them, stem from his team partisanship.


Hilarious... that this comes after this

Uh, yeah, that's what he does. It's best not to get too involved in an argument with CFB. He exaggerates, uses words carelessly, makes lazy assumptions, makes grand subjective pronouncements. This thread is a nice example.


yep.... I get Bawston people are Ray like and can't grasp nuance....but in this thread I've bagged on idiots for accusing someone of being older than he claims because LITERALLY The only evidence they have to support their position is the country he comes from. How is that not clear racism? (again forget the pedantics of the term racism, and instead insert the word stereotyping if you want)


Again.... THE ONLY evidence for Pujols being older than he claims is where he came from, yet I'm the one painting a broad brush? I'm not the one throwing racist comments out there and think that it's valid.
   53. PreservedFish Posted: September 03, 2016 at 05:02 PM (#5294914)
cfb, you have a handful of fine arguments regarding Pujols and his age. As I stated before, I have no strong opinion on the matter, and from what I can tell nobody in this community is entirely sure that Pujols is older than he says, so I think that everyone accepts some of your points.

But now you're making a mockery of yourself.
   54. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 05:02 PM (#5294915)
It's not pedantic at all.


It is pedantic, people all the time use the word racist when it comes to people stereotyping. Considering that there is no such thing as race, technically speaking the word racist has zero meaning. Once you accept that there is a thing such as "race" then you are opening up the term racist to a lot of things. There is a difference between connotation and denotation. It's well accepted that race is a term applied to many groups beyond skin color, and includes nationalities in that connotation.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 05:06 PM (#5294919)
cfb, you have a handful of fine arguments regarding Pujols and his age. As I stated before, I have no strong opinion on the matter, and from what I can tell nobody in this community is entirely sure that Pujols is older than he says, so I think that everyone accepts some of your points.

But now you're making a mockery of yourself.



And? sorry, but questioning Pujols age, without acknowledging the inherent racism in the questioning, is a mockery. Question his age as much as you want, but in that questioning phase put out the truth, that you are questioning it because you are being a racist. Simple as that. You are literally questioning his age because of where he came from. That is fine, sure he might be the 5% who lied about his age, but stereotyping and not expecting to get called out on it, is ridiculous.
   56. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2016 at 05:21 PM (#5294925)
Is it NOT true that the DR has had more issue than any other country with regards to age falsification (in MLB) ?


Raw numbers, probably not, when you include early 1900 baseball and negro league players, I'm pretty sure that more age falsification happened among US born players, when it comes to percentages though, especially post integration, it's very likely that the DR has the highest percentage of age falsification. But it's still not anywhere close to being where you assume they are lying first. There have been 663 DR ml players, you would need 66 to make 10% of age falsification, you would need 332 to make it above 50% where is where you would need to be in order to make the assumption that someone from the DR is more likely to be lying about their age than telling the truth.

Do you really think that there are 332 players from the DR who lied about their age? If so, then you have a legitimate argument that it makes sense to assume someone from the DR is lying about their age, until you reach that number, you are making an assumption that is wrong more often than right, simply because of their "race".
   57. PreservedFish Posted: September 03, 2016 at 05:42 PM (#5294935)
Most people find it useful to draw a distinction between stereotyping and racism. Your inability to find that distinction is one of the reasons you've been accused of painting with a broad brush. That, and stuff like this - "Yep.... you are right, please continue to vote for Trump and believe in completely stupid ideas like RBI's is indicative of how good a player really is" - in which you actually come off as not just dull but actually sort of unhinged.
   58. Buck Coats Posted: September 03, 2016 at 06:00 PM (#5294940)
the Cardinals spent a lot of money trying to verify his age before they signed his first extension


Do you consider this to have been racist by the Cardinals?
   59. shoewizard Posted: September 03, 2016 at 10:17 PM (#5295031)
Well Buck, since we have been informed that "the very simple act of questionng his age is racism" ' i believe the answer to your question must be painfully and ironically obvious now to CFB.

   60. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 03, 2016 at 11:33 PM (#5295054)
No, because they're the Cardinals and nothing they have ever done has been wrong even once.
   61. bookbook Posted: September 04, 2016 at 01:13 AM (#5295073)
Here's the crux of it, for me. We all over learned the lesson of Bill James (more players peak at age 26 or 27 than any other age). What that actually means is that something like 15% of players peak at 26, and another 15% or so at 27. Career arcs vary dramatically. The list of best players in their 20's doesn't have nearly as much overlap with the list of best players in their 30's as we'd assume. No Cal Ripken, and Joe Maurer, and Alex Rodriguez, and Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey, etc. weren't lying about their ages. They just didn't age well, by the standards of their outsized early successes.

Pujols has battled plantar fasciitis his whole career, if I remember right. That alone is a remarkable barrier to overcome, especially in one's 30s.
   62. cardsfanboy Posted: September 04, 2016 at 01:24 AM (#5295075)
Do you consider this to have been racist by the Cardinals?


Probably, but it's also due diligence, when offering a 100mil contract extension, it makes sense to spend $20,000 or so to verify things, even with the likelihood of him lying being less than 10%.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: September 04, 2016 at 01:32 AM (#5295076)
Most people find it useful to draw a distinction between stereotyping and racism. Your inability to find that distinction is one of the reasons you've been accused of painting with a broad brush. That, and stuff like this - "Yep.... you are right, please continue to vote for Trump and believe in completely stupid ideas like RBI's is indicative of how good a player really is" - in which you actually come off as not just dull but actually sort of unhinged.


Again, considering that there is no such thing as race, it makes it hard to distinguish racism vs stereotypes.

Why is DR people not a race, but a black skinned folk a race? I mean DR people are often permanently tanned, so obviously that is different than white people from America, different from black people from America and different from yellow people from the far east.... seems like a different race based upon the silly notion that race actually exists....

And if you are arguing they aren't a race because they also occupy the same 'race' as Mexicans, Agentinan's, Bolivans etc....then I can almost see that argument, but even there you have the age issue (see Fernando Valenzuela) so basically it's fairly safe to assume that racism regarding latino people exists because they are frequently assumed to be lying about their age.....so we'll call Pujols Latino to signify his race instead of DR, and that still doesn't defend the inherent racist assumptions that he is lying about his age. Heck either in this or another thread someone accused Andruw Jones of clearly lying about his age and he's not DR....so it boils down to being born in a country outside of the U.S., which is kinda racist.

   64. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 04, 2016 at 03:21 AM (#5295078)
Here's the crux of it, for me. We all over learned the lesson of Bill James (more players peak at age 26 or 27 than any other age). What that actually means is that something like 15% of players peak at 26, and another 15% or so at 27. Career arcs vary dramatically. The list of best players in their 20's doesn't have nearly as much overlap with the list of best players in their 30's as we'd assume. No Cal Ripken, and Joe Maurer, and Alex Rodriguez, and Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey, etc. weren't lying about their ages. They just didn't age well, by the standards of their outsized early successes.


All of this is true, but it doesn't excuse CFB's absurdity.

there is no such thing as race


"race is a social construct" ≠ "there is no such thing as race"

Money is also a social construct. But if you said something like "there is no such thing as money" everybody would tell you to take your stoned ass to bed.

Which, you know what? CFB, take your stoned ass to bed.
   65. bookbook Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:02 AM (#5295097)
All of this is true, but it doesn't excuse CFB's absurdity


Absurdity on the Internet? Heaven forfend!

I must admit I'm not convinced there is a meaningful distinction between stereotyping and racism. I guess you could say, Stereotyping is what we use as a rationale to pretend like we're justified (or objective) in our racism. If stereotyping doesn't have a strong negative connotation, it should.

In this specific example, folks have been pounding on the "Pujols is older than he claims" hobby horse with no supporting evidence for more than 15 years now. What may have been a reasonable speculation many years ago, doesn't really feel that way anymore. It feels more like counting acne spots on grainy old photos of Piazza's back.
   66. Rally Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:18 AM (#5295101)
Why is DR people not a race, but a black skinned folk a race? I mean DR people are often permanently tanned, so obviously that is different than white people from America, different from black people from America and different from yellow people from the far east.... seems like a different race based upon the silly notion that race actually exists....


Can't believe I'm actually responding to this stupidity. Why? Because DR is a country. Calling DR a race makes as much sense as calling "American" or "Canadian" or "Cuban" a race. Most people in DR, according to Wikipedia, 73% are mixed race, which probably describes Pujols. The mix likely being between those who were there, those who came to conquer, and those the conquistadors brought along. But 16% are white and 11% black, at least according to wiki. Not too many white Dominicans in MLB however.

Among the top 20 players from the Dominican by games played, the following players have had age corrections: Beltre, Ortiz (both of these guys in the opposite direction normally assumed), Tejada, Vlad Guerrero, Soriano. I didn't include Franco, while there have been some discrepancies due to his age I assume that is only due to the extinction of the dinosaurs who would have been the only ones around to document his birth.

As to Pujols, I think it's likely he is the listed age based on his playing record.

1. If the was really a 24 year old rookie in 2001 he should have dominated the Midwest league much more than he did in 2000. A massive leap in ability between 20-21 is more likely than one at 23-24. Trout and A-Rod made such major leaps in their age 20 seasons, those years were actually their 20/21 seasons as they had mid season birthdays.

2. Pujols didn't peak at a listed age of 23 or 24, as good as he was then, he got better, and his actual best seasons were at age 28-29.

3. His demise is a bit exaggerated. Sure he's not aging like Hank Aaron, but he's retaining a lot more value than say, Jimmie Foxx, who was another strong comp for him at the time he signed his Angel deal.



   67. BDC Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:34 AM (#5295107)
Pujols fought off the effects of age a little last night and hit two HR to pass Frank Robinson on the career leaderboard.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:42 AM (#5295112)
The Shift is the big reason Pujols' decline is so pronounced.

Oh please.

It's true that Pujols BAgb is substantially lower from 2012-16 than earlier in his career. Whether this is the shift or not hitting the ball as hard or weird Anaheim/Pujols interaction, who knows? But let's ascribe it all to the shift.

It's a 50 point drop. But it's a 50 point drop on about 220 gb per year so it's 11 hits, basically all singles. Those 11 singles would account for about a 20 point drop in overall BA and a 20-22 point drop in SLG (if one is a double say). Albert's actual LAA vs StL numbers are a 60 point drop in BA and a 140 point drop in SLG. Yeah, it's the max 11 singles lost to the shift that are killing him.

He has meanwhile also seen about a 50 point drop in his BAfb. He's also seen a big drop in BAld. Unfortunately those two are all tied up for everybody it seems but it's still not good.

His HR/FB hasn't declined dramatically but it's still down from 15% to 12%. This leads to a HR% reduction from 6% to 4.7% -- that doesn't seem like much but given his durability, that's 8-9 HR per season he's down. (Obviously more important than 11 singles) But those also only contribute a bit to his drop in BA and even if those all became outs, it would explain only about 60 points of the drop in SLG. That drop in HR power would also have contributed towards the drop in BB%.

So really what we've seen with Pujols is a drop across the board -- singles, doubles, HRs, BBs down, Ks up a bit. The simplest explanation is he's not hitting the ball as hard and has lost bat speed which seem typical of an aging player. At most, the shift exacerbated what would have been a dramatic decline in any circumstance.

It would be interesting to talk to Frank Thomas. He wasn't Frank Thomas good at 30-31, bounced back well at 32 but was hurt at 33. After that, the BA fell substantially (by his standards), the Ks went up substantially (by Thomas standards) but HR/FB maintained. He became more of that classic old-guy TTO hitter. Was that a conscious change on his part? I've long surmised that one "problem" with the aging Albert is that he's trying to be the _hitter_ that he used to be rather than selling out some Ks (and drawing more BBs) in exchange for power.

On the age question, he will have been in and out of the US several times since 9/11 which means his age would have been verified under the stricter standards. There were a number of players who were caught under false names/fake ages in the first few years after 9/11. It's extremely unlikely Albert's reported age is false and even less likely that the Angels didn't know his real age when they signed him.

On aging elite hitters, I probably limited my look at post-integration or maybe post-expansion. I don't think that how Hornsby or Foxx or Cobb aged has much to tell us about how modern players are likely to age.
   69. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: September 04, 2016 at 11:51 AM (#5295124)
Yep, I'm the one with a wide brush in comparison to people who have ZERO evidence are accusing a guy for being older than he claims, simply because he came from the DR. Yep.... you are right, please continue to vote for Trump and believe in completely stupid ideas like RBI's is indicative of how good a player really is.


Trump gets a big chunk of his support because of people like CFB who say stuff like this. ("You dare disagree with me, you knuckle-dragging, NASCAR-watching, sister-banging Trumpster?!") I'd almost consider voting for the guy myself if I wasn't in a deep-blue state.
   70. Srul Itza At Home Posted: September 04, 2016 at 05:04 PM (#5295213)
In this specific example, folks have been pounding on the "Pujols is older than he claims" hobby horse with no supporting evidence for more than 15 years now. What may have been a reasonable speculation many years ago, doesn't really feel that way anymore. It feels more like counting acne spots on grainy old photos of Piazza's back.


It could also just be a throw-away line just for yuks, and then once CFB rises to the bait, they pile on.

Frankly, I take it no more seriously than the Chris Truby devil worship stuff, or the A-Rod Centaur stuff or the "How Old is He, Johnny" Franco stuff.

No two players are alike, and with Pujols you also have the chronic plantar fasciitis issues, and the fact that he is so stoic he probably doesn't speak up when he is hurting.

I think he must be feeling pretty this past month, and he just went yard again.

   71. shoewizard Posted: September 05, 2016 at 04:00 AM (#5295335)
Arom you left Furcal off your list
   72. Tippecanoe Posted: September 05, 2016 at 08:49 AM (#5295341)
Willie McCovey also had foot trouble. He had a three-year run as The Best Hitter Alive and then was never the same. His late career is vaguely comparable to Big Frank's, with bad years mixed in with seasons where he had excellent rate stats, albeit with some level of platooning.

These "age" based comparisons would be a lot more meaningful if we could be absolutely sure about Alberts true age.


No one has brought up Sammy Sosa. Of course, comparisons would be a lot more meaningful if we could be absolutely sure about his supplement regimen.
   73. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 05, 2016 at 09:29 AM (#5295344)
Not too many white Dominicans in MLB however.


What about this guy?
   74. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 06, 2016 at 10:25 AM (#5295652)
the DR has the highest percentage of age falsification. But it's still not anywhere close to being where you assume they are lying first. There have been 663 DR ml players, you would need 66 to make 10% of age falsification, you would need 332 to make it above 50% where is where you would need to be in order to make the assumption that someone from the DR is more likely to be lying about their age than telling the truth.
Is there some reason you're limiting it to major leaguers? What about all the innumerable minor leaguers from the Dominican who were caught lying about their ages after 9/11?
   75. Morty Causa Posted: September 06, 2016 at 11:24 AM (#5295727)
When I worked for the Social Security Adm. Latin America, especially Mexico and the Carribean states, was a hotbed of fake birth certificates and baptismal certificates.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: September 06, 2016 at 11:58 AM (#5295761)
Is there some reason you're limiting it to major leaguers? What about all the innumerable minor leaguers from the Dominican who were caught lying about their ages after 9/11?


Isn't that a point in favor of my argument? Sure I'll bring it up, when mlb/the U.S. starts to scrutinize they have a tendency to catch the guys before they even make it to the show. Of course even with the "innumerable" minor leaguers who were caught, it's still less than 20% or probably still less than 10%


Again Albert has passed multiple age checks since 9/11, how tough is this to understand, sure he might be lying about his age, just like Jeter might be lying about his sexual orientation or just like Frank Thomas might be lying about his PED usage, but right now the logical and most likely argument is that Albert is the age he claims he is, the evidence absolutely supports it. Only evidence against him is simple racism. "he's from the DR, therefore he must be lying about his age."

When I worked for the Social Security Adm. Latin America, especially Mexico and the Carribean states, was a hotbed of fake birth certificates and baptismal certificates.


I don't doubt that, but without data to back it up, does it really matter. That is how stereotypes are created, because someone thinks they notice something and starts to say it about that group of people, even though there is just as likely of a chance that it's just observational bias, or that it's more likely than other people, but not really to the level that it's safe to make an assumption.

I've worked retail and in the restaurant business, and you have all types of stereotypes that people tell you, so I actually started to track the stereotypes to see if it was real or even significantly different, and there were often times some stereotypes were closer to the stereotypes, while others were the opposite. If you start a log of every interaction you have and rate it by the whatever stereotype you might find out over the course of time that it evens out a lot closer to average than the stereotype. (in the restaurant business the stereotype is asian people don't tip, yet every day it seems that I hear a waiter/waitress talking about how the asian guy tipped, and it boils down that they already set it up in their mind that this stereotype is true and that no matter how many times it proves to be wrong, that they think that one time is the exception instead of trying to accurately track the numbers and seeing if maybe their perceptions are colored)

There are more fraud in Latin America, but I seriously doubt it's a real high percentage, just that there are a lot of instances that are remembered.
   77. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: September 06, 2016 at 01:51 PM (#5295845)
[brennaman]Albert Pujols is leading the AL in Rbi. That makes him the best player in the league [/brennaman]
   78. DavidFoss Posted: September 06, 2016 at 02:17 PM (#5295867)
There are more fraud in Latin America, but I seriously doubt it's a real high percentage, just that there are a lot of instances that are remembered.

I thought there was a specific 'AgeGate' scandal that we all remember. One year in which tons of players' ages changed and things cracked down a bit after that. Is this link relevant? Was it 2002? Pujols debuted in 2001 and he's not on this list.

https://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features/agechart.html

Things are much more serious now because of all the bonus money involved and how age projections are used in arbitration hearings. It used to be 'cute' to find out that Tony Oliva swapped identities with his little brother. That wouldn't be cute today. Like I said above, they performed bone scans on Miguel Sano to verify that he was indeed 16 when he signed.
   79. Rally Posted: September 06, 2016 at 03:02 PM (#5295893)
[brennaman]Albert Pujols is leading the AL in Rbi. That makes him the best player in the league [/brennaman]


If you lead the league in RBI, you are doing something right and can't be that bad, right?

I looked at all players with at least 100 RBI, sorted by lowest WAR. I don't see a way to ask for league leaders on BBref PI, but once I have the list the leaders have the black ink. Pujols at 1.4 WAR has the second lowest figure for an RBI leader, with only Dante Bichette 1995 as worse.

None of these guys led the league, but the worst years for 100 RBI men, all well below replacement level, are:

Bichette 1999
Carter 1990
Sierra 1993
Armas 1983
Carter 1997

Bichette had an otherwise nice looking slash line of 298/354/541, but is brought down by extreme park factors and a horrible defense rating. The others all had sub .300 OBP, getting all those RBI at a cost of about 500 outs each.
   80. Rally Posted: September 06, 2016 at 03:13 PM (#5295901)
Since this thread was posted Albert is 8-18 with 3 homers, batting 444/444/1000.

The crazy hope for the Angels is to look at the career path of David Ortiz, he had a few moments where he was almost written off. 2009 - bats .238 for a 102 OPS+. It took a good second half to salvage that, he was hitting 222/317/416 in the first half.

Even last year he hit 231/326/435 in the first half before going nuts, a nuts that has continued through 2016.
   81. DavidFoss Posted: September 06, 2016 at 03:41 PM (#5295922)
If you lead the league in RBI, you are doing something right and can't be that bad, right?

Two things. First is skewed splits -- he's old Albert with runners on (.315/.382/.545) and RISP (.338/.414/.570) but his overall numbers are weighed down by his bases-empty numbers (.214/.255/.378). Second is opportunities. The guy batting in front of him has a .443 OBP and Angel splits for leadoff and #2 slots are also top-3 in the AL for OBP. So Pujols leads the AL by quite a bit with 457 runners on during his PA's. Second place is Bogaerts with 406.
   82. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 06, 2016 at 05:31 PM (#5295986)
Even last year he hit 231/326/435 in the first half before going nuts, a nuts that has continued through 2016.


???
He's .263/.320/.463 the last 365 days

Anyway, it doesn't look like he's "declining" as a hitter, he declined from 2010 to 2013, and has held steady since. He pretty much cliff dived like Dale Murphy/George Foster, but starting from a higher height he had/has more value after the dive than they did.

he's overpaid, but he's still useful, as opposed to Ryan Howard who was horrifically overpaid considering he hasn't even been useful/playable lately
   83. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 06, 2016 at 05:37 PM (#5295989)
None of these guys led the league, but the worst years for 100 RBI men, all well below replacement level, are:


Worst by OPS+

Carter 77 (1997)
Batista 81 (2004)
Castilla 84 (1999)
Armas 85 (1983)
Carter 85 (1990)
Sierra 86 (1993)
Frenchy 87 (2006)
Jablonski 89 (1953)
Pepitone 90 (1964)
Banks 92 (1969)


   84. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 06, 2016 at 05:41 PM (#5295992)
In his last 18 games, covering 77 PAs, he's hit .387/.390/.747. That's pretty great, but you have to wonder about that one single unintentional walk he's gotten over the course of three weeks. His walk rate has halved since his mid-2000s heyday, which seems strange to me. Great hitters usually see their walk rates increase, don't they?
   85. BDC Posted: September 06, 2016 at 05:50 PM (#5295996)
I was curious about a variant on the 100-RBI/weak-hitter combo: the ones who nonetheless are strong enough defenders to play at a star level. There aren't many, and they tend to pop up in high-offense eras, naturally. Here are a few of the best (all below 100 OPS+):

Player           dWAR OPSRBI WAR/pos Year HR BB SB   BA  OBP  SLG   Pos
Glenn Wright      4.0   96 111     5.7 1924  7 27 14 .287 .318 .425    
*6
Andruw Jones      2.9   94 104     4.9 2001 34 56 11 .251 .312 .461    
*8
Carlos Beltran    2.2   99 108     4.7 1999 22 46 27 .293 .337 .454 
*8/DH
Torii Hunter      1.9   98 102     3.8 2003 26 50  6 .250 .312 .451 
*8/DH
Lave Cross        1.8   76 101     2.0 1895  2 35 21 .271 .319 .364    
*5
Herman Long       1.5   84 100     2.0 1899  6 45 20 .265 .321 .375  
*6/


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/6/2016.

Wright and Jones led their leagues that year in overall dWAR.

One of my favorite personal examples is Kevin Elster for the 1996 Rangers. An OPS+ of 90, 99 runs batted in for a powerhouse club, and 0.5 dWAR, which is not great for a shortstop, but he was at least an OK shortstop. Added up to 1.5 WAR for a guy who only had a total of 6.2 WAR in thirteen seasons.

   86. Lars6788 Posted: September 06, 2016 at 06:00 PM (#5296000)
Looking at his numbers, his walk totals were typically inflated by intentional walks - while Pujols was disciplined in his own right, he wasn't a guy who would look to walk 100 times a year like a Votto or a Boggs, but a guy looking to hit.

With his decline, teams do not intentionally walk him as much so the total number of walks he gets each year have dropped all together.
   87. JAHV Posted: September 06, 2016 at 06:24 PM (#5296013)
Pujols was always a 70 - 80 unintentional walk guy, which is good, but not a ton for a guy who hit as well as he did. Pujols wanted to go up there and crush the ball. Which he did. A lot. In his prime, he probably saw quite a few ABs where he didn't see a hittable pitch.

Now that he's not crushing the ball, he's getting more pitches around the plate, but he's still got the swing-first mentality. His hand-eye coordination remains incredible, which is why he can swing at a ton of pitches and remain a guy who doesn't strike out a lot. He just doesn't scare pitchers nearly as much, so he gets more pitches right near the plate.
   88. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 06, 2016 at 07:52 PM (#5296044)
Great hitters usually see their walk rates increase, don't they?


Probably not when your power bellyflops -- a similar thing happened to Sosa as his power went from otherworldy to good to AWOL -- he went from consecutive seasons of 91, 116, and 103 walks back to the good-not-great numbers he had just when he broke out, and then finally back to the not-that-good numbers of his early career as he played out the string. You can only be so selective when you're getting challenged more often.
   89. cardsfanboy Posted: September 06, 2016 at 08:11 PM (#5296056)
Great hitters usually see their walk rates increase, don't they?


Not usually as they age, it takes a while for the league to figure out that they are no longer who they were, but once they do, they get challenged more often. (with the notable Bonds/Ortiz like exceptions)

The trend (and it's a rough trend with many exceptions to the point it's just an estimate at best) is that great hitters as they age eventually get more walks as they realize that they can't control the strike zone as much as they did in the past, then the opposition realizes this and starts challenging them more often leading to lower walks. Of course there are many exceptions depending on the skills of the individual player, but almost nobody other than Bonds increases a good walk rate past 35 years old, guys like Vlad or Clemente might have increase their walk rates as they aged, but that is a different situation. You can't really expect Ted Williams like player to increase his walk rate.
   90. Tin Angel Posted: September 06, 2016 at 08:32 PM (#5296069)
I like that cardsfanboy was totally humiliated upthread, but couldn't resist coming back to drop this bit of knowledge (meanwhile never having bothered to answer to the ludicrous statements he made earlier. :)
   91. cardsfanboy Posted: September 06, 2016 at 09:14 PM (#5296098)
I like that cardsfanboy was totally humiliated upthread, but couldn't resist coming back to drop this bit of knowledge (meanwhile never having bothered to answer to the ludicrous statements he made earlier. :)



yep, whatever
   92. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 07, 2016 at 01:56 AM (#5296214)
I like that cardsfanboy was totally humiliated upthread, but couldn't resist coming back to drop this bit of knowledge (meanwhile never having bothered to answer to the ludicrous statements he made earlier.


Mate, just let it go. CFB is entitled to his opinion. The pedantry here sometimes is just batsh*t crazy. And of course no different to the rest of the online world at times...(heavy sigh...)
   93. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 07, 2016 at 02:24 AM (#5296218)
The pedantry here sometimes is just batsh*t crazy.


There's a difference between pedantry and noticing when someone else is being a self-righteous #######.
   94. BDC Posted: September 07, 2016 at 08:07 AM (#5296230)
Not usually as they age

Willie Mays did, dramatically, at the very end of his career (ages 39-41). His strikeout rate spiked too the year he was 40. One imagines he started working counts a lot more, knowing that his power and bat-speed were falling off. So he kind of turned into Mickey Mantle for one season and set a career high in OBP at age 40. Dangerous to generalize from Willie Mays, though :)
   95. bbmck Posted: September 07, 2016 at 09:18 AM (#5296257)
David Ortiz became the 18th player with ten+ 100+ RBI seasons this year, A-Rod, Miggy and Pujols also played in 2016, lowest career among those players:

WAR: Joe Carter 19.3, Ortiz 54.5, Vlad 59.3
OPS+: Carter 105, Goslin 128, Palmeiro 132
Rbat: Carter 6.3, Goslin 364.3, Al Simmons 391.3

Among the 11 players with nine 100+ RBI seasons, Thome and Chipper in 2012 are the most recently active:

WAR: Belle 39.9, Delgado 44.3, Sosa 58.4
OPS+: Sosa 128, Delgado 138, Chipper 141
Rbat: Sosa 332.6, Belle 343.1, Delgado 372.2

Among the 19 players with eight 100+ RBI seasons, Beltran's most recent is 2008 and has 82 this year, Teixeira in 2011 with 33 this year:

WAR: JuanGon 38.5, Hugh Duffy 43.0, Sam Thompson 44.3, Jim Rice 47.4
OPS+: Joe Cronin 119, Beltran 121, Banks 122
Rbat: Cronin 241.9, Duffy 249.4, Teixeira 251.0

Among the 14 players with seven 100+ RBI seasons, AdrianG last did it in 2014 and has 78 this year:

WAR: Del Ennis 31.4, AramisR 32.1, Pie Traynor 36.2, MagglioO 38.5
OPS+: Pie 107, Aramis 115, Ennis 117
Rbat: Pie 92.6, Ennis 160.7, Aramis 170.5, Lazzeri 193.2, Gil Hodges 199.7

Among the 30 players with six 100+ RBI seasons, Prince last did it in 2013 with 44 this year, Ryan Howard in 2011 with 46 this year:

WAR: RHoward 14.9, Dunn 16.9, Sexson 17.9, Prince 23.7
OPS+: MTejada 108, TinoM 112, Carlos Lee 113, Doerr 115, Konerko 118
Rbat: Tino 83.9, Tejada 101.9, CLee 140.0, Sexson 141.8, Doerr 144.1

Among the 39 players with five 100+ RBI seasons, VMartinez last did it in 2014 with 75 this year, Braun 2012 and 79, Holliday 2012 and 60, Wright 2010 and 14:

WAR: Bichette 5.5, Karros 10.2, CFielder 17.1, VCastilla 19.3
OPS+: Castilla 95, Karros 107, Bichette 107, High Pockets 109, Andruw 111
Rbat: Castilla -50.3, Bichette 54.0, Karros 59.6, High Pockets 61.2, Meusel 113.0, Andruw 119.3

Among the 62 players with seven+ 100+ RBI seasons:

61 with 30+ WAR, 55 with 40+, 48 with 50+, 37 with 60+, 26 with 70+, Miggy 68.8 almost certainly ends up 70+, AdrianG 44.0 might rise, Teixeira 51.6 and Ortiz 54.5 most likely remain, Beltran 70.0 might drop, A-Rod 117.7 and Pujols 101.1 aren't dropping out of 70+.

60 with 110+ OPS+, 57 with 120+, 43 with 130+, 33 with 140+, 20 with 150+, Pujols 157, Miggy 155, Ortiz 141, A-Rod 140, AdrianG 133, Teixeira 126, Beltran 121.

60 with 100+ Rbat, 56 with 200+, 45 with 300+, 35 with 400+, 27 with 500+, Pujols 707.4, A-Rod 641.6, Miggy 572.7, Ortiz 449.4, AdrianG 282.3, Beltran 274.9, Teixeira 251.0.

Under 200 Rbat for Age 23-32 among the 62:

Player            WAR/pos OPS+  Rbat   To   Age   PA
Joe Carter           19.1  110  49.0 1992 23
-32 5631
Aramis Ramirez       25.2  118 134.2 2010 23
-32 5719
Bob Johnson          26.6  137 177.4 1938 27
-32 3787
Del Ennis            26.8  120 157.7 1957 23
-32 6313
Magglio Ordonez      28.6  125 176.8 2006 23
-32 5203

Jeff Kent            29.5  121 130.5 2000 24
-32 4855
Pie Traynor          30.3  109  85.6 1931 23
-32 6288
Gil Hodges           36.5  125 169.7 1956 23
-32 5790
Tony Lazzeri         43.8  125 193.7 1936 23
-32 5885
Joe Cronin           50.4  121 184.6 1939 23
-32 6179
Carlos Beltran       51.2  122 177.9 2009 23
-32 6091 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/7/2016.
   96. Rally Posted: September 07, 2016 at 09:51 AM (#5296271)
"Even last year he hit 231/326/435 in the first half before going nuts, a nuts that has continued through 2016."

???
He's .263/.320/.463 the last 365 days


That sentence referred to Ortiz, not Pujols.

Probably not when your power bellyflops -- a similar thing happened to Sosa as his power went from otherworldy to good to AWOL -- he went from consecutive seasons of 91, 116, and 103 walks back to the good-not-great numbers he had just when he broke out, and then finally back to the not-that-good numbers of his early career as he played out the string. You can only be so selective when you're getting challenged more often.


I don't see any bellyflop for Pujols' power. 69 homeruns the last 2 years, his HR power is only a bit lower than his STL days. It's a huge drop in singles and (especially last 2 years) doubles. A big part of the fall in walks is that he isn't getting 30-40 intentionals every year. But even on the unintentional walks he's down. He does not have the plate discipline he used to, and that really goes back to his last year in STL.
   97. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 07, 2016 at 11:12 AM (#5296315)
He does not have the plate discipline he used to, and that really goes back to his last year in STL.


Guys adapt differently to a loss in reaction speed/bat speed, some become more deliberate, work the count, some become more aggressive, pull the trigger more quickly to make up for the loss of reaction speed- I think that's the path Pujols has taken.

   98. cardsfanboy Posted: September 08, 2016 at 07:24 PM (#5297221)
David Ortiz became the 18th player with ten+ 100+ RBI seasons this year, A-Rod, Miggy and Pujols also played in 2016, lowest career among those players:

WAR: Joe Carter 19.3, Ortiz 54.5, Vlad 59.3
OPS+: Carter 105, Goslin 128, Palmeiro 132
Rbat: Carter 6.3, Goslin 364.3, Al Simmons 391.3


And we've discussed ad nauseum about how to some extent war underrates full time dh's. I could see a pretty decent argument being made for Ortiz being about 3-5 war better simply because of his rpos penalty. I'll never support the argument that players hit worse because they are dh, because it doesn't really matter their mind set, it matters their value, but I do support the argument that a guy could play a poor 1st base and actually improve his war value if given the chance. If the AL never had a DH, and Ortiz got a real chance to play, he probably becomes a first baseman, his team instead of investing in other future first basemen(dh) uses their money more wisely, and it compensates for his defensive shortcomings, which might not be as bad as advertised if he got to play there 2000 games.


I think every case of a long time poor fielding first baseman and a DH should be discussed in depth, instead of just looking at war(which is of course the first step---I don't have a problem with that---I have a problem with just ending the discussion there) Ortiz at 54 war is not even a borderline candidate, and I think he is a borderline candidate.(he's a B to B+ candidate before you add in his post season heroics and ignore his supposed PED usage---hof is for A students, and it's the fudging that makes it interesting discussion.... at 54 war it's not an interesting discussion, he's clearly on the out) (not talking about what will happen, but talking about the discussion of people who aren't writers, so who might know a little bit about baseball)
   99. Mefisto Posted: September 08, 2016 at 07:35 PM (#5297223)
And we've discussed ad nauseum about how to some extent war underrates full time dh's.


WAR OVERrates DHs. They should be treated as very poor fielding 1B. Frank Thomas bad. If they were better fielders, they'd be on the field. The fact that they aren't is good evidence that they can't.

Relatively speaking, Ortiz has "better" dWAR than Thomas (both are negative), despite the fact that Thomas actually played the field for a good portion of his career. That shouldn't happen.
   100. DanG Posted: September 08, 2016 at 09:35 PM (#5297281)
Willie Mays ... kind of turned into Mickey Mantle for one season and set a career high in OBP at age 40.
OPS+ of 130+ in age-40 season, 300+ PA

Player               OPSoWAR  PA Year  Tm HR RBI  BB SB   BA
David Ortiz           163  4.1 530 2016 BOS 31 107  70  2 .318
Willie Mays           158  6.1 537 1971 SFG 18  61 112 23 .271
Edgar Martinez        141  3.3 603 2003 SEA 24  98  92  0 .294
Dave Winfield         138  4.1 670 1992 TOR 26 108  82  2 .290
Moises Alou           137  2.0 360 2007 NYM 13  49  27  3 .341
Harold Baines         136  2.6 486 1999 TOT 25 103  54  1 .312
Darrell Evans         135  3.7 609 1987 DET 34  99 100  6 .257
Ty Cobb               134  4.3 574 1927 PHA  5  93  67 22 .357
Brian Downing         132  2.6 476 1991 TEX 17  49  58  1 .278
Jim Thome             131  1.5 324 2011 TOT 15  50  46  0 .256 

Age-41 season

Player               OPSoWAR  PA Year  Tm HR RBI  BB SB   BA
Ted Williams          190  4.8 390 1960 BOS 29  72  75  1 .316
Barry Bonds           156  3.9 493 2006 SFG 26  77 115  3 .270
Brian Downing         138  2.6 391 1992 TEX 10  39  62  1 .278
Stan Musial           137  3.5 505 1962 STL 19  82  64  3 .330
Carlton Fisk          136  3.2 419 1989 CHW 13  68  36  1 .293
Willie Mays           131  2.2 309 1972 TOT  8  22  60  4 .250
Honus Wagner          127  5.2 625 1915 PIT  6  78  39 22 .274
Jim ORourke           125  2.2 483 1892 NYG  0  56  30 16 .304
Raul Ibanez           123  2.3 496 2013 SEA 29  65  42  0 .242
Davey Lopes           118  2.3 304 1986 TOT  7  35  43 25 .275 
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