Updated: Apr 29
I was scavenging the internet and I came across an interesting concept that MLB.com is running. They're building the ultimate 5-tool star, going through each tool (hit for average, hit for power, speed, arm strength, and fielding) individually. I decided to take it one step further. I'm adding in undefinable characteristics like: leadership, sustained dominance, and competitiveness.
Over the coming days, I will be putting together the best players of all time based on their tools, both one's with statistics, and one's without as I take a deep dive into current and former MLB players, and come up with THE perfect MLB player.
First tool: Hitting
As mentioned above, there are two components to hitting: for power and for average. I dug through pages and pages of stats to find the best statistical hitters in the history of Major League Baseball.
1. Hank Aaron- Lifetime .305 BA (125th), 755 HR (2nd), 2,297 RBIs (1st)
There's no denying Hank Aaron is one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. His home run record stood for 31 years until Barry Bonds broke it in 2001. Aaron played 23 seasons in the MLB, through the first 17 he hit under .300 only 5 times, and in his first season, which happened to be his worst statistical season during that stretch, he hit .280. Throughout his entire career, he hit over .310 11 times, racked up 3,771 hits, and only struck out 1,383 times. Playing in 3,298 games, with 13,941 at-bats that's an average of 1 strikeout per 8.94 at-bats for 23 seasons.
2. Babe Ruth- Lifetime .342 BA (8th), 714 HR (3rd), 2,214 RBIs (2nd)
I don't think I have to explain why "The Babe" is in this discussion, his stats and legacy on the game of baseball speak for themself. As most people know, Ruth was a pitcher for the Red Sox before switching to hitting and I'd say its sufficient that it worked out for the best. Ruth played 21 years in the MLB, and the first 4-5 were spent as a pitcher. So, over the course of 15 years from 1919-1934 (not including his final year), Babe racked up those astounding numbers. Despite his prolific numbers that are arguably the greatest, it was a different era of baseball back then and it's tough to compare baseball played in the 1920s, to that of the 1980s, let alone the 2010s.
3. Mike Trout- Career (8 seasons) .305 BA, 285 HR, 752 RBIs
I put Mike Trout as the third greatest hitter with the ability to hit for power and average because, at the astounding age of 28 years old, his numbers are ridiculous. This is more of a future potential pick, but it's still well deserved. He has plenty of baseball left, but as it stands, he is one of 18 other players a part of the .300/.400/.500 club. That means a career .300 BA, .400 OBP, and .500 SLG%. I'm psyched to see what Trout does the rest of his career. I did the math, and if he plays 20 seasons, like his counterparts, he will have roughly ~712 HRs, ~1,823 RBIs, and ~484 SBs, ~3,209 hits. I put him third on the list just because I can't wait to see what crazy numbers he will be able to put up in this pitcher-friendly era of baseball. 10 years from now we might be watching the GOAT play in his final game. It's just a shame that baseball fans don't get to watch him play because he's on the Angels.
4. Albert Pujols- Career (19 seasons) .300 BA (178th), 656 HR (6th), 2,075 RBIs (T-5th)
Albert Pujols has, in my opinion, one of the most unique and interesting careers of any player that I've ever watched play. The latter part of his career has been something of a "disappointment" by comparison to the first part of his career. Over the last 7 seasons, he hasn't hit over .275, he's hit in the .240s 4 out of the last 5 seasons, and yet still has a lifetime batting average of .300. Looking at his career stats the best you can do is sit back and laugh at how astonishing his numbers were from 2001-2012. People remember Albert Pujols for the worst years of his career at the end of a 10-year/$240 million contract, but that's what you get when a 30-year-old signs a 10-year-deal. Pujols mantle includes 3 MVP trophies, Rookie of the Year, 2 World Series, 6 Silver Slugger trophies, a batting title,
5. Alex Rodriguez- Lifetime .295 BA (254th), 696 HR (4th), 2,086 RBIs (3rd)
There's no question ARod is one of the greatest hitters of all-time. People argue whether or not he deserves to be in this conversation because of his stint with steroids, but Alex Rodriguez absolutely deserves to be in that conversation for everything he did for the game of baseball both during his career and after his retirement. ARod's career accomplishments consist of: 3x MVP, World Series Champion, 3,000 hit club, and 2x Gold-Glove winner.
Frank Thomas- Lifetime .301 BA, 521 HR, 1,704 RBIs
Ken Griffey Jr.- Lifetime .284 BA, 630 HR, 1,836 RBIs (Only 9,801 at-bats)
~Barry Bonds- Lifetime .298 BA, 762 HR, 1,996 RBIs
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