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Monday Rockpile: Colorado Rockies Players Matching Albert Pujols' Greatness

Over the weekend, Joe Posnanski pointed out an incredible fact: Over the course of a 162 game season, St. Louis Cardinals' 1B Albert Pujols averages a .331 batting average, 42HR, 44 2B, 123 R, 128 RBI. In baseball HISTORY, only 9 players have mustered this line even ONCE, and they include: Albert Pujols (duh), Babe Ruth, Hank Greenberg (the original Hammerin' Hank), Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Hal Trosky, Chuck Klein, and Colorado's own Todd Helton and Larry Walker.

Todd Helton's 2000 was a season to stand in absolute awe of. In 160 games, Helton batted .372/.463/.698 (1.162 OPS, .476 wOBA, 165 wRC+) with 42 HR, 59 2B, 138R, 147 RBI. If you recall, Helton also had a .400 batting average through June 10th and had a .390 average on September 3rd. Helton's 165 wRC+ was 6th in the majors (3rd in the NL) and his 8.6 WAR was 3rd in the majors (1st in the NL). Helton finished 5th in the MVP voting behind Jeff Kent, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, and Jim Edmonds. Helton DID receive a single 1st place vote, so there's that.

Larry Walker was nothing to sneeze at either in 1997. Over 153 games of epic awesomeness, Walker posted a .366/.452/.720 line (1.172 OPS, .494 wOBA, 184 wRC+), hitting 49 HR, 46 2B, 143 R, 130 RBI, and 33SB. Walker DID win the MVP that year, if you recall. Nearly unanimously, too, as only Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell received 1st place votes (3 apiece). Walker's 9.0 WAR was 3rd in the NL (5th in the majors) behind Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza.

Off Topic

If we remove the counting stats from the equation and just look at the overall slash line of .331/.426/.624, the list of players in Club "Albert Pujols is Incredible" becomes somewhat less exclusive, as 48 individual seasons have matched this average line (3 Helton, 1 Walker). Interestingly enough, Norm Cash met this line in 1961, and then it wasn't met again until 1993 when Barry Bonds batted .336/.458/.677 with 46 homers. If we add in the HR totals, the list drops to 24 (2 Helton, 1 Walker). Factor in the doubles as well, the list drops to 6 non-Pujols seasons: Helton's 2001, Helton's 2000, Walker's 1997, Gehrig's 1927, Hornsby's 1922, and Ruth's 1921. All 6 of those seasons also met that R/RBI line. That's some intense company.

Looking at Pujols' career line and average 162-game numbers is pretty neat, as Pujols is a historically great player, and one of the top 3 RHB of all time (top 2 if we separate the Mick because he was a switch-hitter). But here's a fun fact for you: If we factor in the full slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG), HR, 2B, R, RBI, it turns out that Albert Pujols hasn't actually matched his own "average" season even once. He's been phenomenal in all of those categories for a couple of seasons, enough to boost his own "average" season, but never all in one year. That really speaks to the intensity of those 6 individual seasons.