Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Albert Pujols Voted Top Player For 2012 By ESPN

ESPN unveiled it’s top 10 players for the 2012 season on Tuesday. Angels fans have heard plenty about the top player on the list this offseason. The Angels mystery teamed their way to landing Albert Pujols this winter thanks to Arte Moreno’s rather deep pockets. While Pujols is coming off of his worst professional season (37 home runs, .299/.366/.541), he did fracture his wrist and hit and hit the 15-DL. A normal human player would take a while to get his power back from that type of injury. Pujols rubbed some dirt on it and finished 5th in NL MVP voting.

The ESPN experts seem to think he can rebound to his usual Pujolsian self in 2012. Here’s the criteria for their project…

To compile a top-500 ranking, 34 ESPN experts, polled over the final two weeks of February, started with a list of the top 600 players projected to play in the majors in 2012. Using a 0-to-10 scale, they evaluated only the quality of each player for the 2012 season.

Pujols finished with 9.62 followed by Roy Halladay (9.56) and Miguel Cabrera (9.50). Miggy is a damn fine hitter in his own right but will probably have a zany Scooby Doo type adventure at third base this season while Pujols is still an elite defender at first. PECOTA is projecting a 9.0 WARP (wins above replacement player) season for Pujols in 2012. Well, 8.4 in the last spreadsheet update I have but it’s still by far the best WARP for a hitter. Joey Votto and Ryan Braun have the second best projection with a 5.8 WARP. So Baseball Prospectus’ projection system is anticipating a clear MVP season for Pujols in his first year with the Halos. Huzzah!

If you don’t want to click over to ESPN, allow me to do the work for you. Here’s how the Angels players shook out in the rankings.

1. Pujols
24. Jered Weaver
35. Dan Haren
58. C.J. Wilson
107. Ervin Santana
125. Howie Kendrick
143. Peter Bourjos
155. Kendrys Morales
162. Mike Trout
163. Jordan Walden
187. Erick Aybar
205. Mark Trumbo
210. Torii Hunter
240. Scott Downs
271. Chris Iannetta
341. Maicer Izturis
351. Bobby Abreu (hahaha)
365. LaTroy Hawkins
438. Alberto Callaspo
460. Hasanori Takahashi
494. Vernon Wells

For those keeping score at home, the Angels and Rays had the most players in the top 500 with 21. The Angels average of their top 10 players ranked 5th behind the Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and Phillies.

Tags: Albert Pujols ESPN PECOTA

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