Albert Pujols and his bloated contract have been heavily criticized during his Angels career. This season was a crazy one for The Machine, and he is having a phenomenal end to his year.
Albert Pujols has had quite the 2017. He hit his 700th home run back in June. After a few more big flies, Pujols now resides at the #7 spot on the all-time home run list with 614. He is also the all-time leader for foreign-born players. However, Pujols’ season was not just about milestones, as he became the team’s best hitter down the stretch.
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In 25 games in September, Pujols has a .305 batting average with 17 RBI’s and even two stolen bases. This came in the midst of a tight playoff race (for the first half of the month) and when the team needed him the most. Pujols has always been great down the stretch, with a career .316 batting average in the season’s final month.
This exceptional play from The Machine has come despite teams strategizing against him. It is no secret Pujols has lost a step in recent years. Injuries and aging has caused him to have a career low in doubles this season, and most of these doubles would be triples for the average MLB player.
Defenses began to play seven outfielders against Pujols. All four infielders would be a few feet into the outfield. With Pujols’ speed, they still had plenty of time to make a play at first and get to their assignments. And he still hit .305.
A recent article by Bleacher Report ranked Albert Pujols as the worst player in the MLB. This was due to his -1.8 WAR per FanGraphs. However, Albert Pujols is the greatest player of his generation. He is not the same, and he sure is not worth his contract, but he is still a good player.
Albert Pujols is no longer The Machine he was in St. Louis. However, he is still a quality bat for the Angels, especially as the season gets into its later months.