Historical look at ESPN 500 Top 10 players
April, 3, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
Albert Pujols was voted by a panel of ESPN MLB writers, analysts and contributors as the best player in Major League Baseball heading into the 2012 season.
Albert Pujols –- Pujols is in very elite company. He’s one of six players to hit 400 career home runs and bat at least .325. The other five: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Stan Musial. Pujols’ 445 home runs through his first 11 seasons are the most all-time through a player’s initial 11 years in the majors.
Miguel Cabrera -- Cabrera has led the American League in at least two significant offensive categories in three of the last four seasons. Cabrera’s .977 OPS over the last six seasons trails only Albert Pujols in that span.
Justin Verlander -– Verlander won both the AL MVP and Cy Young awards in 2011, the first pitcher to win both since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1992, and the first starter to do so since Roger Clemens in 1986. Over the last three seasons, Verlander leads the majors in wins (61) and strikeouts (738) and is third in opponents BA (.221).
Felix Hernandez -- Hernandez and Roy Halladay are the only two pitchers to average 240 innings per season over the last three seasons, and his ERA, when adjusted for ballpark, ranks second to Halladay in that span as well.
Clayton Kershaw –- Kershaw is second to Roy Halladay among National League starters in both wins and ERA, but leads in strikeouts and opponent batting average over the last two seasons.
Troy Tulowitzki -- Over the last three seasons, Tulowitzki has 89 home runs, 34 more than any other player whose primary position is shortstop. His OPS+ of 134 also tops all shortstops in that span. Tulowitzki also ranks third among shortstops over the last three seasons in Defensive Runs Saved.
Tim Lincecum –- Since making his debut in May of 2007, Lincecum has struck out at least 10 batters in a game 31 times, the most in the majors over that span. His 977 strikeouts over the last four years is tops among all pitchers.