Baseball BeatApril 15, 2011
News and Views: The Most Valuable Player in Baseball
By Rich Lederer

News: Troy Tulowitzki hit his sixth and seventh home runs of the season as the Colorado Rockies swept a doubleheader and the four-game series from the New York Mets on Thursday. He was a combined 5-for-8 on the day. The 26-year-old shortstop leads Major League Baseball in HR (7), XBH (10), TB (40), RC (19), SLG (.909), and OPS (1.400).

Views: Move over Albert Pujols, Tulowitzki is now the best player in the game. The seventh overall draft pick out of Long Beach State in 2005 is nearly five years younger than the three-time National League MVP, plays a much more important defensive position (and as well as any shortstop in baseball), and, get this, has actually outhit him over the past 365 days. That's right, Tulo has a higher AVG (.324 to .300), SLG (.614 to .560), OPS (1.011 to .961), wOBA (.431 to .401), and wRC+ (161 to 153) than Pujols during this period. Moreover, the player who is now just approaching his prime has generated 7.7 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) vs. 6.5 for his 31-year-old counterpart.

You can have Pujols or, for that matter, Hanley Ramirez if you're into shortstops. I'll take Tulowitzki.


Interesting analysis. I think the only concern with Tulowitzki is his health. Apart from that you've got a Cal Ripken clone except for the fact that Tulo can hit .300 as well. I've been wondering who was going to take over the reigns of best player on the planet after Pujols. I thought of Hanley, Votto, and Longoria but I'm convinced: Tulo is the best player in baseball.

Tulo is the man of the moment. May he sustain it and convince those who want to see a longer run of top level performance. Similar batters through age 25 are mostly HOF quality -- not quite as many as Prince Albert, but when you consider the HOF bias to first basemen, it's just as impressive.

Aside from elite players such as Pujols, first basemen and left fielders are pretty generic and replaceable. Signing a big lug with some power is way easier than finding a defensively skilled shortstop, catcher or third baseman with a big bat.

Thanks again, J.P. Ricciardi.

I also notice that Pujols BABIP is .285 over the chose period while Tulowitzki's is .325. Also Tulo was apparently injured over the time frame since he played 38 less games than Pujols. Let's not be so hasty to jump to conclusions when there are easily pulled stats on the given link that explain a temporary and slight advantage to a player.

As someone on VivaElbirdos so aptly put it, "one Pujolsian year does not make one Pujolsian." Admittedly, over the last year, Troy's stats AT HOME make him look Pujolsian, his stats on the road make him look like Miguel Tejada from 2 or 3 years ago. Let's not go overboard yet.

Jumping the gun a bit? How many games into the season are we? OPS of .863 on the road last year. About the same this year. And he's the best player in the league? Votto's road OPS this year is 1.304 and in 2010 it was 1.093 (higher than his home OPS). Sure, he plays 1B, but offensively, he's significantly better than Tulow.

I will give it to Tulowitzki on defense, but it’s hard to argue with a guy that has two gold gloves. Looking at offensive seasonal averages,Tulowitzkis best year doesn’t even come close to Pujols’ career average.

Tulo has played outstanding the past 162 game, but way too soon to declare him better.

Every year there is some player that people jump the bandwagon on, but Pujols is in a class by himself.

Why when commenting on who is the best player in the game does age factor into the conversation? Don't get me wrong, it should certainly factor into who you would like to have going forward or for possible development, but in the conversation of "best player in the game" it's completely irrelevant.

It's not the "best player for the next 5 years" (given Tulowitzki's injury history there is a strong argument against that anyway) it's the player preforming (and expected to continue to preform For the near future) the best, age be damned.

Mike D.

Your assumptions about BABIP for batters is incorrect, for batters BABIP is a controllable skill, so you cannot compare one player to another. Tulo's BABIP is actually with in 10 points of his career average of .318. Pujol's is below his career average of .314, however hes also been on a downward trend the past several years into the high 200s. Also every projection system other than Jame's, that had him flat to his career average, expected a decline in Pujol's BABIP this year. Declining BABIP as a player ages is common as they lose speed.