Pujols named Sporting News' Player of the Decade

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It’s hard to argue with this:

No muss, no fuss, no drama–and no longer much debate about who is the best player in baseball. For much of the decade, the debate focused on Rodriguez and Barry Bonds. But in nine seasons, Pujols has never not surpassed a .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Those Hall of Fame numbers (by age 29) define him only slightly more than his all-around pursuit of excellence.

A-Rod was a distant second.  He had better counting stats than did Pujols, but if you adjust for the fact that he has played the entire decade while Albert didn’t debut until 2001, those differences become minimal.  Pujols kills A-Rod on the rate stats. He also has a ring. He also isn’t loathed in the way that Rodriguez is loathed by so many, though I don’t think that entered into SN’s decision.  Really, the only way Rodriguez would have had an argument would be if he had stayed at short and continued to play good defense there, but that obviously didn’t happen.

Sad that this was such a no-brainer. I’m in the mood for an argument this morning, but this thing really doesn’t call for one. 

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.