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Whose the Best All-Around Player?

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Joe Morgan wrote an article at ESPN.com a week or so ago with his choice for best all-around player in baseball. He chose Miguel Tejada due to his batting skills and said he is good enough with the glove to merit all-around honors. I do not intuitively know if he is correct or not (I'm pretty sure he is not), but I want to check this out for myself, so I chose a small list of players I thought capable of taking away this "all-around player" title:

Miguel Tejada
Albert Pujols
Carlos Beltran
Bobby Abreu
Todd Helton
Alex Rodriguez

Let's take a look at this season's numbers first:

Tejada 2005
.333/.372/.614
HR: 10
2B: 11
SB: 0/1
BB: 8
SecAvg: .327
Iso: .281
WARP1: 2.5
VORP: 23.0
EqA: .327
FRAA: -4

Pujols 2005
.324/.406/.581
HR: 9
2B: 11
SB: 2/2
BB: 18
SecAvg: .392
Iso: .257
WARP1: 2.3
VORP: 21.6
EqA: .320
FRAA: 1

Carlos Beltran 2005
.299/.349/.471
HR: 6
2B: 9
SB: 1/2
BB: 13
SecAvg: .248
Iso: .172
WARP1: 1.5
VORP: 10.9
EqA: .282
FRAA: -2

Bobby Abreu 2005
.331/.450/.604
HR: 10
2B: 8
SB: 10/10
BB: 28
SecAvg: .547
Iso: .273
WARP1: 2.9
VORP: 27.0
EqA: .350
FRAA: 1

Todd Helton 2005
.331/.452/.551
HR: 5
2B: 13
SB: 1/1
BB: 26
SecAvg: .433
Iso: .220
WARP1: 2.6
VORP: 16.4
EqA: .324
FRAA: 4

Alex Rodriguez 2005
.292/.374/.578
HR: 12
2B: 8
SB: 3/3
BB: 18
SecAvg: .403
Iso: .286
WARP1: 1.9
VORP: 17.3
EqA: .311
FRAA: -5

As far as 2005 goes, and just the sample size so far, Tejada is not even the best player among this grouping of 5. Bobby Abreu takes that title, but I wouldn't be much of a help if I just used a month and a half as my sample.

Let's look at their collective stats for the past three years excepting 2005. Same setup as before, except the first number is 2002, the second number 2003, and the third number 2004:

Tejada (2002-2004)
.308/.354/.508; .278/.336/.472; .311/.360/.534
HR: 34; 27; 34
2B: 30; 42; 40
SB: 7; 10; 4
BB: 38; 53; 48
SecAvg: .264; .292; .302
Iso: .199; .193; .224
WARP1: 6.8; 4.5; 10.3
VORP: 66.4; 58.1; 73.0
EqA: .294; .280; .305
FRAA: -7; -15; 16

Pujols (2002-2004)
.314/.394/.561; .359/.439/.667; .331/.415/.657
HR: 34; 43; 46
2B: 40; 51; 51
SB: 2; 5; 5
BB: 72; 79; 84
SecAvg: .366; .448; .468
Iso: .247; .308; .326
WARP1: 8.2; 11.4; 10.1
VORP: 72.6; 108.2; 103.5
EqA: .321; .360; .321
FRAA: -4; -1; 3

Carlos Beltran (2002-2004)
.273/.346/.501; .307/.389/.522; .267/.367/.548
HR: 29; 26; 38
2B: 44; 14; 36
SB: 35; 41; 42
BB: 71; 72; 92
SecAvg: .383; .424; .499
Iso: .228; .215; .280
WARP1: 6.7; 7.2; 8.9
VORP: 49.3; 64.1; 74.5
EqA: .284; .311; .308
FRAA: 5; 3; 6

Bobby Abreu (2002-2004)
.308/.413/.521; .300/.409/.468; .301/.428/.544
HR: 20; 20; 30
2B: 50; 35; 47
SB: 31; 22; 40
BB: 104; 109; 127
SecAvg: .428; .380; .524
Iso: .213; .168; .242
WARP1: 8.3; 7.8; 9.5
VORP: 70.4; 53.3; 83.8
EqA: .325; .310; .328
FRAA: -8; -2; 1

Todd Helton (2002-2004)
.329/.429/.577; .358/.458/.630; .347/.469/.620
HR: 30; 33; 32
2B: 39l 49; 49
SB: 5; 0; 3
BB: 99; 111; 127
SecAvg: .434; .455; .510
Iso: .248; .271; .272
WARP1: 8.8; 12.4; 12.3
VORP: 73.1; 99.9; 94.8
EqA: .322; .339; .339
FRAA: 10; 23; 24

Alex Rodriguez (2002-2004)
.300/.392/.623; .298/.396/.600; .286/.375/.512
HR: 57; 47; 36
2B: 27; 30; 24
SB: 9; 17; 28
BB: 87; 87; 80
SecAvg: .471; .468; .399
Iso: .324; .301; .226
WARP1: 10.8; 10.0; 8.1
VORP: 94.7; 96.3; 62.3
EqA: .328; .324; .317
FRAA: 6; 1; 5

I know that was a lot of numbers, but bear with me. The only way to decide entirely who the best all-around player could be is by throwing all the numbers at you that I think are pertinent to the discussion. What do we see from above? Well first of all, Tejada is not the best all-around player in baseball, this or any other year really. Let's attempt to rank them based solely on their bat:

  1. Pujols
  2. Helton
  3. ARod
  4. Abreu
  5. Tejada
  6. Beltran
Now based solely on FRAA:
  1. Helton
  2. Beltran
  3. ARod
  4. Abreu
  5. Pujols
  6. Tejada
Now based solely on the basepaths:
  1. Beltran
  2. Abreu
  3. Arod
  4. Tejada
  5. Pujols
  6. Helton
Beltran is the worst with the bat, but one of the all-time greats on the basepaths. Abreu is in the middle of each listing. Based on how I think each player is going to develop over the next few years I like the chances of Pujols and Abreu the best. Abreu just seems to be getting better each year as of late, and Pujols has not hit his prime years yet (we hope). ARod is an excellent player, and last year most likely would have topped out this list, but I think we are more likely to see more 2004's than 2003's for the duration of his career. Pujols is capable of finishing his career as one of the top ten hitters of all-time in my mind, and I am sure some of you agree with me. Abreu is in the midst of a Hall of Fame caliber career, but no one seems to notice much.

Overall, I like all of these players over Tejada, which I guess is a good part of what the article is about. People complain about Helton playing at altitude, but forget to look at his EqA's and his road totals that are also quite impressive, as well as the fact that he is quite the defensive first basemen. People give Tejada a lot of credit because of his RBI totals, and as all of you readers know, that just is not acceptable to me. I'm going to have to go with Albert Pujols as the best all-around player in baseball, followed by Bobby Abreu. Pujols is just too good a hitter (and turning himself into a good defensive first basemen as well) to look away from. Bobby Abreu gets my vote for second though due to his proficiency with the stick and his excellent basepath talent. He is 10/10 this year, and that really helps bring his SecAvg figure way up. Keep an eye on Abreu more than Tejada; just because he does not have as many RBI does not mean he is not the superior player.

Update [2005-5-20 8:32:40 by Marc Normandin]: Honestly, I'm still on the fence about selecting Pujols over Abreu. I think I am going to really have to study this one for awhile and present my findings at a later time. For now, Pujols is it, but if I see 3/4 of the way through the year Abreu continues to be the dominating force he has shown he can be I might review this selection.