Gleeman: 100 RBIs, the hard way

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on September 14, 2017:

Albert Pujols is on pace for 106 RBIs. Albert Pujols has been one of the worst players in baseball this season.

I’ve already written about the deterioration of Pujols’ production at age 37 and with $125 million left on his contract, so I’ll try to avoid rehashing all of that now. However, the idea of a 100-RBI season being a bad season—not just mediocre or overrated, but truly bad—is interesting to me. The collective fight against RBI as a worthwhile measure of a hitter’s value has mostly been won at this point, but throughout the 1990s and even the early 2000s it remained a struggle. There are still plenty of holdouts, some of whom will perhaps get in touch with me regarding the claim that Pujols is having a bad season.

Pujols has hit .247 with a .290 on-base percentage and .393 slugging percentage in 131 games. He has also grounded into a league-leading 24 double plays and produced negative value defensively and on the bases while rating as the slowest player in baseball. Wins Above Replacement Player, which factors in all of those things to come up with all-around value, pegs the future inner-circle Hall of Famer at -1.4 WARP. That’s tied for the worst WARP in the league. WARP shows that Pujols has cost 1.4 wins compared to a replacement-level designated hitter, which is a lot when the Angels are 2.0 games out of a playoff spot.

Where would Pujols’ season rank among the worst 100-RBI seasons of all time?

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Originally published: September 14, 2017. Last Updated: September 14, 2017.