Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:25 pm

By Matt Snyder

Two superstar first basemen helped lead NL Central teams into the playoffs in 2011. In 2012, each will be playing in the American League.

Albert Pujols signed a whopping 10-year, $254 million contract to leave St. Louis and head to the Angels. Several weeks later (today), Prince Fielder accepted a nine-year, $214 million deal to join the Detroit Tigers.

We long had this matchup slated to run at some point in this Would You Rather Have series, but wanted to hold off until the dollar figures were known. Obviously if Fielder signed for half what Pujols did -- especially being younger -- he'd be the choice. But we now have contracts that are essentially apples to apples, as they're close enough in average annual value. 

Would You Rather Have
The case for Pujols

Ever since Barry Bonds retired, Pujols has been either the consensus best player in baseball or the runner-up (at times Alex Rodriguez was considered superior). Pujols has won three MVPs and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting every single season of his career -- and the top five all but one time. He already has 445 home runs and sports an absurd 1.037 career OPS (170 OPS-plus).

On top of all the considerable damage Pujols can do with his bat, he's a well-rounded player. He's widely regarded as an exceptional baserunner and an above average defender. He's certainly a much better defender than Fielder, so leave the puns alone.

Pujols also doesn't have the weight concerns many attach to Fielder.

The case for Fielder

He's no slouch with the bat himself. In only six full seasons -- and change -- Fielder has 230 homers and a .929 OPS. Last season he hit 38 home runs and drove home 120. For the third consecutive season, Fielder drew more than 100 walks, too, so his plate discipline can rival that of Pujols. And Fielder does have three top-four finishes in MVP voting in the past five seasons.

Despite concerns about weight, Fielder trumps Pujols in the durability category. Prince has only missed one game in the past three seasons combined. In his six full seasons, Fielder has averaged 160 games played. And that's a segue to the age issue.

Prince Fielder is only 27 -- he'll turn 28 this May. Albert Pujols just turned 32. And Pujols' contract is one year longer.

So, obviously Pujols would have been the choice for this past decade, but what about the decade to come?

Our call

I'm sticking with Pujols in a ridiculously difficult choice. Each player probably switches to designated hitter around the same time and I'll take Pujols' defense as the separation point in the next few years.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:51 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Back to why I would still prefer Pujols to Fielder with the Current Contracts:

If you look at the WAR of Mays, Williams, Aaron, Musial, and Ruth on the portion of their careers after 11 seasons, that group still managed to average an additional 60 WAR amongst them.  That's 60 more WAR in 10-12 more seasons folks, and Pujols is a comparable player.

Fielder has a WAR of only 19.6 after 7 Seasons.  If he hits 60 WAR for his entire career, I will say the Tigers got a good deal.

Since: Feb 3, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:34 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Not too mention fielder also strikes out more than twice as many times as pujols!!

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:32 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Primetime you great booby, you can't compare full career stats vs a player with only 11 years in.

I'll simplify for you.

For reference, here is the list of Career WAR Leaders from #1 to #11 (since the guys I listed are in that range):


The following list includes Albert Pujols.

The list works like this:  (Age After 11 Seasons)  WAR After 11 Seasons  (Age At Retirement) WAR At Retirement

Pujols   (31) 88.7
Mays     (31) 86.9  (42) 154.7
Williams (33) 86.5  (41) 125.3
Aaron    (30) 83.2  (42) 141.2
Musial   (31) 82    (42) 127.8
Ruth     (29) 81.9  (40) 172

As you can see, through the first 11 years of a career, Pujols is statistically the most valuable player of the ones I mentioned.

Since: Aug 11, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:31 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

When its all said and done Pujols will be in serious consideration for the best to have ever played the game.  With the high level of conditioning and preparation that the players of today have, I don't think players like Ruth, Mays etc could even compete.  Players of that era would get drunk the night before games partying and would play the next day with hangovers...  Conditioning was smoking cigarettes.  (Not saying Mays did that much partying but he wasn't engaged in modern day condtioning/strength training as are the players of today)

Since: Feb 3, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:27 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

I just wouldn't have signed pujols for such a long contract.  But fielder is definitely not worth that much cash either!!!!!!

Since: Feb 3, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:25 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

fielder still hasn't even hit over .300 !!!!!!!! .299 is close but not the mid to low .300S like pujols has done every year to date till now.  and yeah he's declining since his numbers are more like fielders for one year.  What is fielders lifetime average, oh yeah, an average .282 !!!!!!!!! this is a joke to compare these two guys.

Since: Aug 11, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:22 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

I don't get it????   Why would anyone want to sign Pujols over Fielder, especially when you are talking about a ten year contract ?

Yes, when healthy, Pujols is the best player in the game today.  TODAY.  He is 32 and has been injury prone the last couple of seasons. He is defintely better defensivesly as a 2x golden glove winner.   I guess people believe he's going to pull a Jim Thome and play baseball till hes 42 and at an elite level too cause hes going to be getting insane money when he hits that age.  

Then you have fielder who is five years younger, just as good of a hitter as Pujols (little bit lower average at .282) and who has been super durable his whole career.  Yes, he is a big boy and that could wear on him, and he is not a golden glove caliber defensively, but at the end of his contract he will be 36 years old, much younger than 42.  

I would definitely take Fielder over Pujols.

Since: Jun 10, 2011
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:26 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Cubsblow - don't try arguing with idiot Detroit fans. their collective IQ is usually somewhere between that of a matchstick and a brick, so don't waste your time, friend. they're kind of like Cubs fans, except they lack baseball knowledge and any sense of class. yes, Tigers fans have less class than Cubs fans and that's sad.

Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:21 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Fielder striding into his prime vs Pujols trending down... I think I am taking Fielder at this stage. Pujols is better now, but halfway through these contracts I think the age difference will put Fielder over the top. 

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:15 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

What are you a complete idiot? I said he would be a hall of fame player but to compare him to those players makes him look like a idiot. Yes Pujols has been a very good player but now has a 10 year contract and his stats except HR's and RBI's will go down over the next 10 years

but lets compare the stats as you have said which will give Pujols the advantage since his stats will go down over the next 10 years of his contract.

Home Runs

Aaron 755

Ruth 714

Mays 660

Williams 521

Musial 475

Pujols 445


Aaron 2297

Ruth 2213

Musial 1951

Mays 1903

Williams 1839

Pujols 1329

Slugging Percentage

Ruth 6897

Williams 6338

Pujols 6168

Musial 5591

Mays 5575

Aaron 5545

Batting Average

Williams 344

Ruth 342

Musial  330

Pujols 328

Aaron 305

Mays 301


Ruth 1.16

Williams 1.11

Pujols 1.03

Musial .975

Mays .941

Aaron .928

Pujols is in the top 3 in  OPS, Slugging Percentage, and number 4 in batting average which will all go down over the next 10 years as he continues to play.
Pujols is not better than any of these players. Is he as good as these players... we won't know until he is done with his career he has done good early in his career but so did Griffey jr and A Rod and look where they ended up so you never know

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