Phat Albert: Pujols gets rare perfect score in rankings

NEW YORK -- Four days after earning a World Series ring,
Albert Pujols became only the sixth player to get a perfect 100
score in the annual player rankings.

The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman finished first at his
position in plate appearances, batting average, on-base percentage,
home runs and RBI over the 2005 and 2006 seasons, according to
rankings released Tuesday by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Since the rankings were created in the settlement of the 1981
strike, the only previous players to get perfect scores were New
York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly (1987), Baltimore Orioles
shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. (1991), Chicago White Sox first baseman
Frank Thomas (1995), Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell (1995) and
Boston designated hitter Manny Ramirez (2002).

Pujols was the top NL first baseman for the third straight year
after finishing among the top three outfielders in 2003. Catcher
Michael Barrett and reliever Billy Wagner also repeated.

Chase Utley replaced Mark Loretta at second, and
Miguel Cabrera
took over from Aramis Ramirez at third. Cabrera was among the top
three outfielders in 2003.

Rafael Furcal replaced Jimmy Rollins at shortstop,
Chris Carpenter was the starting pitcher in place of Roy Oswalt and Jason Bay, Matt Holliday and Moises Alou were the top three outfielders,
replacing Cabrera, Lance Berkman and Bobby Abreu.

In the AL, starting pitcher Johan Santana, reliever
Mariano Rivera, catcher Victor Martinez and designated hitter
Travis Hafner
repeated. Alex Rodriguez was the top third baseman for the second
straight year after leading shortstops for six straight seasons.

Paul Konerko replaced Mark Teixeira at first base,
Brian Roberts
took over from Placido Polanco at second, and Michael Young
followed Derek Jeter at shortstop.

Ramirez was among the top three outfielders for the 10th time in
11 years, and Vladimir Guerrero repeated. Abreu, acquired by
the Yankees in July, replaced teammate Hideki Matsui.

Rankings are used to decide whether players are Type A or B free
agents, and what draft picks their former teams get as compensation
if they sign elsewhere. The top 30 percent in each group get an A
ranking, and the next 20 percent a B ranking.

Compensation from Type C players -- the group between 50 and 60
percent -- was eliminated in baseball's new labor contract. Clubs
that sign Type B players won't give up any draft picks, but their
former clubs will receive "sandwich" picks between rounds.