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Is Pujols worth 20 wins per season?

How might one try to quantify what St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols means to his team?

Relevant data is scarce, though the population is growing since the 31-year-old suffered a forearm fracture and was placed on the disabled list effective Monday. It is just his third career DL stint and will be the first to go beyond the minimum 15 days.

Pujols missed 15 games in June 2006 and 13 in June 2008. The team went 14-14 in total with an 8-7 record the first year followed by a 6-7 mark two years later.

Even before Albert was hurt one week ago today, Sunday, the Cardinals had begun a slide. They had been 2-7 in their last nine. Since Pujols’ absence from the lineup, the club is 1-4, including Saturday evening’s loss to Toronto, for a total 3-11 skid.

With another defeat on Sunday, the Cards with Pujols on the DL would be 15-19 (.441) since his 2001 debut. In games Pujols has appeared over his career, the team is 911-720 (.559). In all St. Louis contests during the time in which Pujols was on the active roster, whether he appeared or not, they are 930-733 (also .559).

The difference over an entire 162-game season would work out as follows.

  • Without Pujols (.441) = 71-91 record
  • With Pujols (.559) = 91-71 record

Even in this overly-simple analysis, that difference of 20 games is something to think about for the future.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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