Mark Teixeira vs. Albert Pujols: Battle of First Basemen


There is a nice mix of veterans and young players currently. This couldn’t be more true when looking at first basemen. Players of young and old continue to dominate the position. When drafting for next year, which direction do you go? Let’s say you go with a veteran player, do you choose Mark Teixeira or Albert Pujols?

I know there are other veteran first basemen, but these are the two I want to focus on. They both had great seasons at the age of 35. They are each a focal point of their respective team’s offenses. How will they play in 2016?

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I’m going to start with Teixeira first. He played 111 games this season with 100 hits, 31 home runs, 79 RBI, 59 walks, 85 strikeouts and a .255 batting average. He started the season strong, crushing 28 home runs in the first 95 games of the season. Then injury struck. He played just 16 games in August before being shut down for the rest of the season with a fracture in his shin.

If he were to play 130 games (I can’t say he would have played 150+ like he did from 2008 to 2011), he could have hit close to 40 home runs with 100 RBI and a .265 batting average. While I can’t project where he would have finished if he did, I can only see where he finished from the games he did play. Tex finished 13th on the Player Rater among first basemen. This kind of production from a first baseman with an ADP of 222.0 (23rd round), that is some great value.

Now, to Pujols. He ended the season with 147 hits, 40 homers, 95 RBI, 50 walks, 72 strikeouts, five stolen bases and a .244 batting average over 157 games. Despite playing in two fewer games, he hit 12 more home runs and stole the same number of bases.

Pujols started the season slow. He hit just three home runs and nine RBI in the month of April. The batting average is whatever, but the power numbers were a little disappointing from a fifth-round pick, 45.7 ADP. Over the next 109 games, he hit 29 home runs and 72 RBI with a .244 batting average. At the end of the season, he finished seventh on the Player Rater, just percentage points ahead of Miguel Cabrera

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Based on their 2015 stats, you would have to pick Pujols. And that’s where I would go for next season. He was healthy, yet again. He hit 40 home runs, first time since 2010. The batting average isn’t likely to return to its .270 levels, but .250 isn’t bad from a power hitter like Pujols.

Teixeria played in 123, 15, 123 and 111 games over the last four seasons. The last time he played over 130 games was in 2011. When drafting a first baseman, you are looking for power, which is common among first basemen, and durability like Pujols, Anthony Rizzo or Paul Goldschmidt have.

Of the first 20 players drafted in ESPN leagues last year, four of them were first basemen. Of the first 50 drafted, seven were first basemen, third-most among for a single position.

Pujols has shown no signs of injury or plans of slowing down. While I wouldn’t draft him as high as Round 5 next year, just to protect myself if anything should happen, he still belongs in top-five first basemen talks.

He can surely play in another 155 games with 35-40 home runs, 100 RBI and a .250 batting average. The three to five steals he’ll give you is nothing extraordinary, but doesn’t hurt either.

Next: Roberto Osuna: Late-Draft Saves Opportunity