Wednesday, April 05, 2006

King Albert

If there is a better hitter in baseball than Albert Pujols please report to the office immediately.

Only twenty-six years old, the same as Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and already five full major league seasons under his belt.  A base hit every third time he stands in.  One home run roughly every fifteen AB’s or every fifth hit.  Less than one strikeout per every nine plate appearances, remarkable for a power hitter.  And get this:  the guy stole sixteen bases in 2005, an uptrend from the five he stole in both 2003 and 2004.

And let’s not forget one more item:  no one in baseball strikes more fear in the opposing pitcher every time he walks to the plate with the exception of Barry Bonds.

All hail King Albert, in town for two more nights.


J. Weitzel said...

He's stone cold. Remember his homer in the NLCS last year? Simply amazing. I thought they'd ride that shot into the World Series. Of course, they didn't.

Tom Goodman said...

I remember it well and also remember thinking, "who else but Albert" in that situation... including Bonds.

I cannot overestimate how critical his first AB of the season was. Lieber was cruising, working quickly, getting the first two guys on strikes (easier even versus Albert than Ecstein!), getting ahead of Albert 0-2 and, boom, walk, hit, run scored, game momentum established. Who else but Albert?

Tom Goodman said...

Here is something more to chew on about Albert:

He signed a 7 year deal with the Cards in 2004 for $100 million. Here is what the site At Home Plate had to say (in part) about the deal:

"The signing of Pujols quelled the controversy surrounding the negotiations involving fan uproar upon hearing that Pujols declared there would be “no hometown discount.” Fans in St. Louis had enjoyed a recent tradition of players such as Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Jason Isringhausen and Scott Rolen, who all signed deals believed to be underneath their market values. However, now that the signing is in the books, Cardinal fans must ask themselves this question: Where was this signing in relation to Pujols’ market value? Well, that is an extremely difficult question to answer considering that a deal of this nature is unprecedented for a player that is merely 24 years old. No player has ever started a career with a consistent 3-year standard of excellence (.300+, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, 100+ Runs) like Albert Pujols, and no player has hit more homers in their first three seasons (114). If you favor the rhetoric that players this young “are only going to improve,” you may find that this signing was excellent for the Cardinals, because another year like Pujols’ 2003 line (MLB-best .359 avg., 43 HR, 127 RBI, 137 R) could have priced Pujols out of St. Louis entirely. Whether you consider St. Louis a small market or not (the payroll is expected to exceed $80 mil), it’s quite rare that smaller cities are able to retain their budding superstars. The agreement with Pujols was, arguably, under market value if you consider that a Hall-of-Fame career could be in the making."

If he were negotiating today, Albert might be in line to become baseball's first $300 million man. Dare I say, "What a bargain!"?

Tom Goodman said...

Copy and paste this link for a list of baseball's current millionaires:

Oisín/Wizlah said...

I did not realise that he signed for that. 7 years. 100 mill? Wasn't that what they paid Kevin Brown at the dodgers? for fewer years? Definitely a bargain.

Quite psyched about tonight's game. will be up for it (as in, at 2 in t'morning, not as in clashing with the cardinal's firm . . . ).