With a two-run single in the top of the seventh inning of the Angels’ 9-3 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday, DH Albert Pujols collected his 99th and 100th RBI of the season. It’s the future Hall of Famer’s 14th 100-RBI season. Alex Rodriguez is the only other player in major league history with 14 100-RBI seasons.
Pujols, though, is a great example of why the RBI as a statistic has become so outmoded. He’s hitting just .242/.288/.389 on the season. His .677 OPS is the ninth-worst mark in baseball and it’s easily the worst mark of his career. Pujols, Joe Carter (1990), and Ruben Sierra (1993) are the only players since 1901 to drive in at least 100 runs while posting an OPS below .690, per Baseball Reference.
According to FanGraphs, Pujols has been worth 1.7 wins below replacement level this season. That’s a full half-win worse than the next-worst player, the Phillies’ Tommy Joseph. Mark Trumbo and Carlos Beltran are the only other players in the full-win below replacement category.
Carter, by the way, finished 17th in NL MVP Award balloting in 1990. He hit .232/.290/.391 with 24 homers, 115 RBI, and 22 stolen bases. It will be interesting to see if any voters unironically toss a down-ballot vote to Pujols for decent-looking traditional stats. I feel like we’ve come a long way in 27 years, though.