There is no debating the fact that Albert Pujols will go down in history as one of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time.
In 11 years he managed to win the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year Award; be named to nine All-Star teams; win three NL MVP Awards while finishing in the top five seven times and ninth in voting once; and compile six Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.
Pujols found himself playing October baseball for the Cards seven times over the course of 15 total playoff series.
After appearances in three World Series, five National League Championship Series and seven NL Division Series, Phat Albert's impact has been tremendous.
He owned a .330 batting average, a .439 OBP, a .607 slugging percentage and a 1.046 OPS over his postseason career for the Red Birds.
Cards fans should be able to take solace knowing that he has added exactly nothing to that stat line this season, as his Angels fell short of the playoffs. As Peter Griffin might say, "Sha-zam!"
In 74 playoff games and 267 at-bats, Pujols managed 18 home runs and 52 RBI, which are pretty impressive numbers for October baseball.
However, this season Carlos Beltran has helped to erase the memory of No. 5 in St. Louis, replacing it with No. 3.
On the season, 35 year old Beltran was an All-Star and performed adequately for the Cards, posting a batting line of .269/.346/.495/.842 while adding 32 home runs and 97 RBI.
By comparison, Pujols (who was not an All-Star) posted a .285/.343/.516/.859 line with 30 home runs and 105 RBI.
Beltran posted a 129 OPS+ while Pujols posted a 141 OPS+, a metric that indicates that both players were above-average hitters for their respective teams this season.
What Beltran has done this postseason however, has been significant enough to negate (to some degree) what Pujols meant to this ball club.
In two games thus far, Beltran has a .375 batting average, having gone 3-for-8 with two home runs and three RBI.
Beltran has consistently displayed plate discipline, walking twice and not striking out to date.
In order to be more impressed with Beltran, you just have a look at the rest of his stats this series: a .500 OBP, a 1.125 slugging percentage and a 1.625 OPS.
Pujols only sniffed that slugging percentage once in his playoff career, back in 2004 against the Houston Astros in the NLCS, in which he posted a slugging percentage of 1.000.
The argument against Beltran is clear: It has only been two games. However, one must look no further than his career postseason numbers to be eager to witness his future performances this fall.
In three years and six playoff series, Beltran owns a .356/.473/.767/1.239 batting line, without the supplementation of tonight's statistics.
What's more, in just 90 at-bats, he has 13 home runs and 21 RBI.
The man seems to be hitting his stride at just the right time, having ended the 2012 regular season with six hits in his final 15 at-bats. That trend has carried over to the NLDS, for which Cardinal fans should be extremely happy.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!