Bernie beat me to the analytical punch with the info in his article today in the PD (on line version here) and Albert went off last night with two home runs both of which were on the inner half of the plate.  That said I did have a few interesting pieces of info to share that I found in my investigation.  Breaking the plate into 4 horizontal slices and plotting the percentage of pitches in each zone shows that Pujols has been attacked more inside so far this season (SMALL SAMPLE SIZE) than last

The chart is from the catcher’s perspective, so -1 is slightly off the inside corner.  It’s not anything conclusive because of the small sample size, but it is something to keep an eye on the rest of the year to see if the trend continues.

To look into possible causes, I turned to AP’s performance against high velocity to see if there were any indications of a slowing bat.  The following table has the run value per 100 swings against pitches 95 mph and greater by year

2008 2009 2010
rv100 1.81 2.61 -5.15
sample size 98 125 103

I wonder if other teams spotted something similar and are seeing if they can attack more hard in.  We’ll have to wait and see if 2010 was an anomaly or something more.

DENVER - MAY 07:  (FILE PHOTO) Albert Pujols #...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

There has been lots of talk about Pujols’ rough start to the season, so I wanted to put it into context using some of his recent history.  First some ground rules, can we all agree that Albert Pujols had good seasons in 2010, 2009 and 2008?  I think it is pretty hard to say anything other than “yes” to that question.  With that in mind I offer some food for thought.  In 2010 Albert had five unique nine game stretches where he hit under 0.200.  He had a 16 game stretch where he hit under 0.200.  In 2009 and 2008 he had two unique nine game stretches each year where he hit under 0.200.  Are his current struggles bad?  Yes.  Are they unprecedented, even for him?  Absolutely not.

 

UPDATE:  As Pujols sits at 0-3 I thought I would update you with some more notes.  If we expand to ten games to match the current season’s number of games, Albert still had five unique stretches of ten games where he hit under 0.200.  His lowest ten game stretch was 0.147 and it happened twice.  2009 and 2008 saw Albert have 1 such stretch of ten games where he hit under 0.200 in each season.

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Mark Teixeira

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Tango addresses a trade idea that Ken Rosenthal suggest.  I think makes a decent amount of sense, with a huge caveat. Take this post with a grain of salt, this basically is just me thinking out loud.

Albert Pujols, in 2011, is playing at a discount.  A deep discount.  Albert Pujols, from 2012 to whenever he retires, will sign a fair market-value contract.  He’s worth 250MM$, and his mortgage will be for 250MM$ (or 225/225, or whatever he will sign for).

Mark Teixeira is overpaid by about 30MM$.  Though you can construct a reasonable case that makes Teixeira properly paid.  He’s got a 135MM$ mortgage on a property worth 135MM$.  Maybe.

Ryan Howard? Forget it.  He’s hugely overpaid.

Pujols for Teix?  Even if it makes sense from 2012-onward, Pujols in 2011 is playing at a huge discount.  The Yankees will have to fork over alot more than just Teix.  And Teix cannot ask for a contract extension either.  That would really tilt things way over to the Yankees side.

Hmmm…color me intrigued IF the Cardinals get a load of prospects. Say the Cardinals are at an insurmountable impasse with Albert. Teixeira is owed $22.5 annually in 2011-2016.  His surplus value is nada, in fact using Sky’s trade value calculator here is what we get:

(Someone feel free to correct me if I’m behind the times on any of this stuff, my saber-fu is rusty these days.)

Here’s what we get for Albert-

So the Yankees would have to kick in quite a lot. As in a lot alot. Others and myself have done work on finding out what prospect surplus values are. Here is the Yankees Top 20 prospects per John Sickels.  I’d ask for Montero, Joba (sure, why not?) and Banuelos or Betances, and see if I couldn’t get more.

The problem with this scenario is that the Cardinals would have to hope for a great year from Teixeira in order to compete with Milwaukee and Cincinnati. But at least they’d be set at first base long-term with Teixeira, plus they’d get some nifty prospects to boot. Considering the seemingly short-sighted decisions from the front office, this would be encouraging.

The elephant in the room is that Pujols has said that he’d exercise his no trade rights as a 10/5 player. But you’d have to think that if he had no hope of coming back to St. Louis, he’d go to the team that is certain to give him what he wants. Plus he can play in New York, for the Yankees, the team of great history, mystique, tradition and chase all those famous ghosts and all those other things that make us Midwestern people sick.

So Pujols for Teixeira…good idea, bad idea? Got any other ideas?

Albertageddon is upon us.

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Albert Pujols hitting a home run

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Just when Erik says we have been quiet about the Albert Pujols situation, we will have two posts within just a few days.  With word coming out that the Cardinals were reluctant (maybe even adamant) about not going more than 6 years on a deal with Albert, now is a good time to look at how he may age over the life of any deal.  For this particular exercise I’m going to borrow a methodology that Tango has employed previously and look at historical comparisons based on accumulated WAR.  I built my first list of comps by looking at who had the best WAR/season up through their age 30 season (where Albert sits now) and included anyone with 2 WAR/season of Albert (22 players).  I then looked at how that list of players performed in their age 32-38 seasons (a 7 year deal), 32-39 seasons and so on.  The results are summarized in the table below.  Totals are cumulative rWAR

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32_38 32_39 32_40 32_41
Max 70.0 78.2 78.6 83.2
75th 44.9 49.3 50.5 50.5
50th 36.9 39.0 40.4 40.1
AVG 37.4 39.6 40.7 41.6
25th 26.2 26.8 26.8 26.9
Min 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5

It does appear that those stop accumulating at a decent pace around years 7 or 8. I haven’t run the financials on any of these WAR totals yet other than a select few, so can’t report what these necessarily equate to in terms of deals. That’s a post for another day, or maybe for another author if anyone wants to take a crack at it.

I also built a list of comps based on how players had fared only in their ages 28,29, and 30 season.  Using a list of players that were within 1.5 WAR/season of Pujols either direction (24 players) I came up with the following table

32_38 32_39 32_40 32_41
Max 70 78.2 78.6 83.2
75th 44.3 49.1 50.3 50.3
50th 31.5 33.9 35.4 35.4
AVG 34.6 36.9 37.8 38.7
25th 20.4 20.9 20.9 20.9
Min 8.1 7.7 7 7

Not too different. This is a little lower as the level of greatness was higher to be in the first group.

What does all this mean for the Cardinals and Pujols?  Well, I’m not exactly sure.  I’d have to run the financials on all of these WAR calculations to get a firmer idea here.  Most of the numbers show that 10/300 is a bad idea, but we already knew that (Pujols would have to be at the 75th percentile or better to be worth that deal).  The data does support that anything beyond an 8 year deal doesn’t look like a good idea.  6 or 7 would probably be best, with 8 as the upper limit.

All of the WAR data in the article is from http://www.baseball-reference.com/

UPDATE:  Tango using my calcs

By my calculation (weighted $ per WAR of around 6MM$ per win), this comes out to:
7 years / 225MM$
8 years / 240MM$
9 years / 250MM$
10 years / 260MM$

So there you have it

Photo by Rafael Amado©

Image via Wikipedia

You may have noticed that we here at Gas House Graphs are not really panicking about the Albert Countdown to the Apocalypse, at least not yet.  Tommy Bennett says why we should stay cool about the situation better than I can in this post at Baseball Prospectus.

But if you want to get gloomy about the situation, over at The Hardball Times, Anna McDonald asks the question that no Cardinal fan wants to think about – Can the Cardinals build around Holliday?

More doomsday reading at THT: Pujols, the free agent. Jeffrey Gross looks at potential fits for El Manquino. My money is on the Blue Jays, gotta keep it uh…birdy. Seriously, the Blue Jays make sense. They dumped a ton of money through Jedi mind tricks and they need Albert to catch the Big 3 in the AL East.

Tom Tango has a potential solution – Give Albert a good-sized stake in the Cardinals. Having the Mang as part-owner… Wow, that thought has multiple implications that one can go to town on, but I’ll resist for now. Tango is enlisting readers help for a % that is fair.

Finally, and I’m just speaking for me here:

Dear Radio Talk Show Callers,

Yes, Albert is a Christian. Yes, he wants a lot of money, and it’s because it’s getting what is fair being that he is the best player in the game. The logic, agree with it or not, is that if he takes less money than he’s worth than it hurts his fellow players from getting their due. The players union typically wants players to get what they are worth and not just always settle for team friendly deals.

Yes I agree, it’s weird seeing baseball players get paid inordinate amounts of money. But they’re only getting the piece of the pie they’re getting because we, the consumers, have ensured that pie continues to get larger. We love sports as a society, probably way too much. The amount of money entertainers and athletes get is a reflection of our own values, whether you think that’s bad, good or you’re indifferent on the matter. If you don’t like the monster, then just don’t feed it.

Finally, I don’t know if it has occurred to the average person, but the more money a person like Albert has, the more he can do to reach out to the community. Pujols has won the Roberto Clemente award for his philanthropy in helping kids with down syndrome and the poor in his native country of the Dominican Republic. It’s not all about him living a comfortable life; obviously he already is living pretty comfy. Let’s turn the question on ourselves before we judge – what percentage of our income do we give to benefit others? I’m guessing for the critics that it’s not much.

Think before you open your mouth. None of us really have any idea what is going on in Albert’s mind.

Your pal,

Erik

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