The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Some very different Albert Pujols splits

At its core, baseball remains a game of statistics. How far one is willing to go in this direction has been a religious debate among followers of the game for several decades now and it isn’t going to change any time soon.

For a given player, one can view situational stats cut just about any way imaginable. Examples can range from the basics of how a hitter performs against left-handed pitching all the way to his results with two strikes and two runners on base in extra-inning home games.

I thought I had seen it all until I returned recently to a favorite specialty site, BirdBats.com. Its proprietor, Jeff Scott, collects St. Louis Cardinals game-used bats and tracks their use by players like no other. (For those interested in reading more about Jeff and his business, check out this interview.)

In the case of now-free agent Albert Pujols, Scott not only tracked which bats Albert used in each plate appearance over the course of recent seasons, since the 2004 World Series in fact, he also recorded Pujols’ game results by his varied choice of lumber, both by brand and finish.

That’s right. Pujols’ splits by bat type.

I should mention that Pujols has used Marucci bats exclusively since 2008 and has a minority interest in the company.

You can find all the details at BirdBats.com, but here is a summary of Pujols’ 2011 bat usage and results from Jeff.

“Unlike the past three years, when he used the Gwynn finish 97-99.6 percent of the time, Albert used seven different finishes. He still used Gwynn the most – 82 percent of all plate appearances. But, he also used what I call the Bonds finish (cherry handle/black barrel), a natural barrel/black handle, a natural handle/Hornsby barrel, an all-natural finish, a pink bat and a black bat.

“My advice to Albert for 2012 – other than ‘re-sign in St. Louis’ – is to stick with the natural barrel/black handle bat. He hit .458 with that model during the regular season and .423 with it (including 4/5 of his HR) during the post season.”

Most Cardinals fans are undoubtedly hoping that this winter, Pujols does not create another kind of split – a breakup from his only home as a major leaguer.

Update: Following the posting of the article above, I heard from Jeff Scott, who provided further explanation as to why he got started.

“I started tracking Pujols game by game in 2005 because, at the time, he used several different brands of bats (and every collector wanted one that he used).  I’d get questions from people considering the purchase of a Pujols bat, such as, ‘I found this great 2005 Rawlings bat of his… what do you think?’  I was able to objectively respond that he used Rawlings five times in 700 plate appearances and encourage them to consider the odds that the bat was actually used by Albert in a game (vs. BP, in the cage or by someone else).  People often thank me for helping them avoid bad purchases, so I’d like to think the effort does some good.  I’m just happy every game is televised and I have a DVR.”

Follow me on Twitter.
Follow The Cardinal Nation Blog on Facebook.

24 Responses to “Some very different Albert Pujols splits”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    You might have assumed teams track hitting performances by bat type (and weight/length). (Or maybe they do and teams keep it secret.)

  2. Brian Walton says:

    The Cardinals have confirmed the choice of Mike Matheny as manager. Press conference at 11 AM CT Monday. link

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Matheny was a field general for Tony and Duncan, so knows baseball, even if he has not managed or coached. Should be well-spoken and provide a fresh image for the franchise.

    • RCWarrior says:

      A refreshing change for the Cardinals imo………an actual manager that may possibly answer questions without all of the attitude.

      • Bw52 says:

        RCW-enough of your agenda.Some don`t really care if the manager doesn`t kiss the knights of the keyboards behinds.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I don’t have an agenda, but I hope Matheny is more professional at times in his dealings with the media. Not everything in this world has to be an extreme, you know… Kissing or killing…

        • RCWarrior says:

          BW, what agenda might that be? TLR was a GREAT pitching manager but to say he was even civil at times would be a stretch. I do believe it will be nice to have a manager respond to questions rather than be on his period for 162 straight days.

          And I say that admitting that TLR was exceptional at his job, which is managing a baseball game. But come on…….attitude every now and then is ok but every day…..its just too much.

  4. Bw52 says:

    Glad to see Matheny get a chance.Rumor said Chris Maloney is going to be promoted from AAA also.So how many of the current coaches are returning besides Duncan?

  5. blingboy says:

    I, like CC, am facing west while doing we’re not worthy bows.

    Mo has said he’d be OK with a starting infield of Greene and Descalso. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

    Assuming there will be Mike TV after the games, I’m interested to see how he handles it after losses, as compared to Tony.

    I may have to go to winter warm-up this year.

    If we end up with no Albert and no Tony the east coasters will be calling us the Whodats.

    It’s good that crdswmn has a new toy.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Quoted in an article, Mo seemed to have a different tone. He sounded more open than during TLR days to 2012 roles for inexperienced ML players, such as Descalso and Greene. Since Matheny is reputed to have said favorable things about catcher Bryan Anderson, there might be hope for him to compete with Cruz for backup catcher.
    Matheny seems well qualified to ease into a post-TLR era. Matheny would have spent 5 years as TLR’s on field leader (2000-04). He would know TLR’s style and tactics well. This prepares him well to make a few adjustments in future where need be.

    • RCWarrior says:

      I believe Matheny will be a refreshing change at the managers position. Hopefully Mike does his own thing and doesn’t try to be TLR, so knowing TLR’s tactics and style will be irrelevent.

      I agree that this hire was made to help with the transition between the minor leagues and the ML’s because that is the way that most teams are heading including the cardinals. More teams are becoming dependent on the players from the minors being contributors.Greene and Anderson may have a chance going into spring training this year with Matheny as the head guy.

      I love the hire personally and believe everyone in the cardinals organization will be better because of it to be perfectly honest.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Scott Rolen used to push back at TLR in terms of handling of players. The details of their differences stayed inside the Clubhouse. Scott and Mike Matheny were team-mates. They may have talked about new ideas.

        Yet the Cards did not bring in a complete outsider like Francona or Sandberg. They chose someone who was a key player during the TLR era. There will be changes, but there can also be some continuities.

        • RCWarrior says:

          Scott’s advice to Colby in 2008……..have your agent get you out no matter what he has to do. He spoke as to how TLR would try to destroy you mentally if he didn’t like you. Scotts a smart guy. He was accurate all the way to the end.

          I believe Matheny is the anti TLR. I believe he was brought in because he was not like TLR in any way so I wouldn’t expect anything to stay the same except for the Cardinals to continue winning.

      • crdswmn says:

        I don’t see Matheny trying to emulate TLR at all. Mike has made a few tempered comments on TV in the past alluding to the difficulty of playing for TLR. He has his own style and personality, and to all accounts is very revered among everyone within the Cardinals organization. He will be a refreshing change in many respects.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I agree it is promising, but until we see Matheny in action in this role, it is speculation. He is bound to have some bumps along the way. Not saying it is coming from you, crdswmn, or anyone else here, but I have been reading comments elsewhere that make him appear just short of being a saint. That is expected here on wedding day, but come April 1, the honeymoon will be over and it will become all about winning games.

          • RCWarrior says:

            Sure he will have bumps and I don’t believe Mike is a saint….but I do believe he is a good baseball man and also a good person. I just believe there are people who can be good at both. Tony was a baseball GOD but fell short of being anywhere close to good imo.

          • crdswmn says:

            I don’t call anyone a saint, not even a Saint. :)

            Unless Mike wins 162 games, he will be criticised. It is the nature of the beast. How he does in individual games will be less important than how he does over a season. Since WS champions rarely repeat, Matheny does have a big hurdle in front of him to begin with. While fans are fickle and can be irrational, I expect the FO to be more reasonable about it. I’m willing to give him time.

  7. blingboy says:

    Joltin Joe Thurston has a ST invite with Houston.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.