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Baseball: Better player: Beltran or Pujols?

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posted on Oct, 21 2004 @ 06:56 PM

Albert Pujols is not a five-tool player. One sledgehammer will do.

He's a machine. A 24-year-old machine at that. As the world marvels at Carlos Beltran's every move -- and Scott Boras salivates at every extra dollar he'll command for Beltran because of it -- Pujols has matched every big hit (.436, six homers, 13 RBIs in the postseason). Just don't ask him to score from first on a double.

But that's not his game. Want defense? You won't get the spectacular diving catches, but you'll get a guy who can -- and has -- played four different positions in his career.

Want offense? Where do you start?

Beltran mania is at full boil, but Pujols has done this day in, day out for the past four years.

Pujols' career-low OPS is .955. Alex Rodriguez's career average OPS is .955. Wow. At Pujols' current pace -- a 40-homer average over his first four major league seasons -- he'll break Hank Aaron's record before he turns 40.

His career average of .333 is nearly 50 points higher than Beltran's. He's only the third player in baseball history to amass more than 500 RBIs in his first four seasons. The other two? Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.

The Cardinals would not be one win away from their first World Series appearance in 17 years without Pujols. And they will get there because of him.

And the best part? The Yankees can't try to buy him on the free-agent market for another seven years.


posted on Oct, 21 2004 @ 06:57 PM

The obvious: Albert Pujols is younger (by three years). He's stronger. He's sexier. Chicks aren't the only ones who dig the long ball. Baseball fans love the big bopper -- and Pujols could end up being the biggest of them all.

Does that make him more valuable than Carlos Beltran? No. The reason is simple: Speed. Beltran's advantage in that area is much greater than Pujols' power advantage.

We're not just talking speed on the basepaths, either -- although a comparison of career stolen bases (Beltran, 192; Pujols, 13) is worth a look. We're also talking defense.

Beltran, as we've seen in the playoffs, can cover ground in spectacular fashion in the outfield. Pujols, meanwhile, has improved his defense at first base after making the switch from third. But he doesn't win games with his glove. Beltran does.

While Pujols has the power edge, it's not like Beltran can't go deep. A record five consecutive playoff games with a HR (and a postseason-leading eight thus far) has proven that. Surrounded by a good lineup in Houston for the second half -- and perhaps a better one next season (Yankees?) -- Beltran should see even more pitches he can wallop.

Sometime in the past few years -- perhaps lost amid the chase for HR records, the easy-to-choose highlights and all those Bondsian exploits -- baseball began to devalue the all-around player. A 30-30 guy wasn't nearly as admired as a 40-100 guy.

It's time for a change. Admire Pujols' prodigious power ... but build your team around Beltran.



posted on Oct, 22 2004 @ 02:01 PM
Thats a tough question, they both have great qualities.

Pujols in the long run could be the much better player.

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