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2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 1: Why St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols Is The Top Pick For The Third Consecutive Season

Sun, Jan 16, 2011

Big Board, Player Projections

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Over the past 10 seasons, Albert Pujols has established himself as the most consistent player in baseball. His season averages (119 runs, 41 HRs, 123 RBI, 8 steals, .331 batting average) are unreachable by most others’ standards. His career lows (99 runs, 32 HRs, 103 RBI, .312 batting average) coupled with the fact that he’s never missed more than 19 games in a single season make him the safest pick on draft day.

There are, however, subtle signs that suggest some of his skills may be diminishing. For example, Pujols’ contact and zone contact rates have declined noticeably over the last three seasons:

Contact Rate

  • 2008: 90.1%
  • 2009: 86.6%
  • 2010: 85.4%

Zone Contact Rate

  • 2008: 95.8%
  • 2009: 94.4%
  • 2010: 90.6%

Despite these declines, Pujols is still well above the league averages of contact rate (80.7 percent) and zone contact rate (88.1 percent).

His hacks at pitches outside the strike zone are also trending in the wrong direction:

O-Swing Rate

  • 2008: 21.6%
  • 2009: 22.9%
  • 2010: 27.5%

While Pujols’ 2010 o-swing rate was on the good side of the league average (29.3 percent), it’s still worth mentioning. In fact, these numbers may be the simple result of a league-wide boost in the quality of pitching we’ve seen over the last couple years. Either way, Pujols is still only 31 and remains the top producer in fantasy baseball.

 
  PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2010 stats 700 115 42 118 14 .312
3-year average 680 113 42 123 12 .331
2011 FBI Forecast 700 120 41 125 10 .315

 

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