The Halos have largely been ridiculed for their signing of Albert Pujols. However, it seems like the surefire Hall of Famer is inching closer to his older self, as much as he can.
While Albert Pujols will never be the athlete he once was, he can still slug with the best of them. While he has not shown it over the past few years in Anaheim, 2018 has been good for The Machine.
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For the first time in two years, Pujols was able to work out and condition during the offseason rather than walking around in a boot. He used the time wisely, dropping nearly 15 pounds in order to play more games at first base this season. Pujols’ ability to do this made it much easier for the Angels to convince Shohei Ohtani he belongs in Anaheim, and Pujols’ contributions don’t end there.
So far this year, Pujols has slashed .282/.301/.465. Compared to past seasons (where he averages .262 since joining the Angels), that is a huge upgrade for him. Pujols has yet to walk this season, but that is the only knack on his game. He has been turning on inside fastballs extremely proficiently this season, with most of his big flies coming off of those.
Over the past seven days, Pujols has been on a tear, hitting .310 with four extra base hits (two doubles and two home runs) while driving in five runs. While a lot of people will call for better, younger options hitting cleanup, Pujols has been efficient this year at driving in runs, as Mike Trout, Zack Cozart, and Justin Upton all have 12+ runs scored this year.
The Angels matching their best record in franchise history is in no small part due to Albert Pujols. In Halo wins, Pujols is hitting .293 six extra-base hits. In the team’s three losses, The Machine slows down with a .231 average and just one home run.
Pujols has always been deadly at the plate. Pujols’ number have been dipping since he joined the Angels. He has always been a hitter who can make a pitcher pay if he throws a mistake. Now, it seems like Pujols is returning to the form that earned him ten Top-5 MVP finishes in his career.