Is Albert Pujols the greatest right-handed hitter of all time?

10 Comments

Albert Pujols smacking his 400th career homer last night got me thinking about where he ranks among the greatest right-handed hitters in baseball history.
My favorite stat for across-era comparisons is adjusted OPS+, which puts a hitter’s production into the context of the leagues, ballparks, and run-scoring environments he played in. In other words, a .300 batting average, 25 homers, and an .850 OPS were a lot more impressive at Dodger Stadium in 1968 than at Coors Field in 2010.
Here are the all-time leaders in adjusted OPS+ among right-handed batters with at least 5,000 career plate appearances:

Rogers Hornsby      175
Albert Pujols       172
Jimmie Foxx         163
Mark McGwire        162
Hank Greenberg      158
Frank Thomas        156
Dick Allen          156
Hank Aaron          155
Willie Mays         155
Manny Ramirez       155
Joe DiMaggio        155
Frank Robinson      154

Based on that list you can certainly make an argument for Pujols as the greatest right-handed hitter of all time, but looking at career totals isn’t quite fair to all the retired guys because Pujols is still in his prime and has yet to experience a late-career decline that will likely bring his numbers down a bit.
So instead of career totals let’s take a look at adjusted OPS+ through Pujols’ current age, 30:

Rogers Hornsby      175
Frank Thomas        174
Albert Pujols       172
Jimmie Foxx         169
Dick Allen          164
Hank Greenberg      160
Jeff Bagwell        159
Joe DiMaggio        159
Willie Mays         158
Hank Aaron          157
Manny Ramirez       156
Mike Piazza         156

That paints a similar picture, although this time Pujols is slightly behind both Rogers Hornsby and Frank Thomas (which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who read my piece earlier this season touting Thomas as the most underrated hitter in baseball history). So, is Pujols the greatest right-handed hitter of all time? It’s probably too early to give him that crown, but that’s the path he’s definitely on.

White Sox acquire Ivan Nova from the Pirates

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS — The White Sox have acquired pitcher Ivan Nova from the Pirates. No word yet on what the Pirates are getting back. The deal is except for the medicals, Ken Rosenthal reports.

Nova posted a 4.19 ERA and 114/35 K/BB ratio in 161 innings across 29 starts in 2018. He’s basically an innings eater at this point who can probably be expected to be around a league average pitcher. He’ll make $8.5 million in 2019.