Albert Pujols… ever heard of him?? My guess is you have, I've written about him constantly on this blog, he’s been the best player in baseball over the last decade, and he also happened to ink the second (or third depending on who you talk to) biggest contract in baseball history this off-season, to move from his home in St. Louis to sunny Southern California. Most of the talk surrounding Pujols this off-season has been about whether or not the Los Angeles Angels made a mistake in giving Pujols such a long lucrative deal. I’ve already written extensively on about that contract, and that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how good Albert is going to be this season. Baseball Prospectus’ deadly accurate PECOTA projection system projects this stat-line for Pujols in 2012: .305/.402/.556 37 home runs 111 RBI’s and 11 stolen bases.
That stat-line gives a more traditional picture of how good Pujols could be in 2012. Pujols is projected to lead the league in traditional statistics, as well as, some highly regarded sabermetric statistics including, home runs, RBI’s, OBP, SLG, OPS, TAv, and WARP. Also, Pujols is projected to be the best fielding first baseman in baseball with an FRAA (fielding runs above average) of 16 runs saved; 8 runs higher than any other first baseman. So how good will Pujols be for the Angels in his first season with the club?... Well, according to PECOTA he’ll be as good as advertised and then some.
I’d like to quickly put some of the numbers in these projections in perspective. Pujols’ projected tAV (.340) is 14 points higher than the projected second best hitter, Miguel Cabrera (.326). Pujols’ projected WARP (7.5) is 1.9 wins higher than the second highest projected hitter, Evan Longoria (5.6). Thus, PECOTA not only projects Albert Pujols to be the best defensive first baseman in baseball, the best hitter in baseball, but also the most valuable hitter in baseball by almost 2 wins. That is absurd. So I’d everyone to forget about the next nine years in the future, and just for the moment focus on 2012. One of the most realistic projection systems in the world thinks Albert Pujols is still baseball’s best player, and it thinks Pujols is the best by a large margin.
To be honest I’m jumping right on board the PECOTA bandwagon, Albert will be the king of baseball again in this season, just this time he’ll be dominating in Anaheim.