Since Albert Pujols return to St. Louis, he has been a reborn person at the plate. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but maybe Pujols was finally able to give the city who watched him grow up a proper goodbye and has been better off because of it.
Since Pujols saw his final at-bat in Busch Stadium, he has been one of the better hitters on the Angels. Obviously his speed and defense still fall below average, but his bat has woken up.
In the past 45 games, Pujols has slashed .273/.438/.755. He is driving the ball with far more power than he has during his Angels tenure, and on Sunday became tied for the third spot with 17 seasons of 20 or more home runs. He is tied with Willie Mays and Frank Robinson, while only Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron sit in front of him, with 19 and 20 such seasons, respectively.
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Pujols has also been driving in runners at a ridiculous rate. He has 42 RBI’s in those same 45 games, and his batting average with runners in scoring position sits at .311. The belief of Pujols being at his best when it matters most is best proven by his performance Saturday night.
With the Angels capitalizing on a big 7th inning, Pujols came to the plate with a chance to step on the throat of the Boston Red Sox and effectively end the game. With two runners on, Pujols blasted a ball over the wall, and watched it fly afterwards. While “clutchness” isn’t the easiest of traits to calculate, is seems as though The Machine kicks into overdrive when he sees a chance to knock in some runs.
With September call-ups happening and the club out of postseason contention, Pujols could very well begin to lose playing time so the Angels can see what they have in their younger players. And while that may be good for the future of the club, it would be nice to see Pujols ride out this comeback season he’s having.
Maybe it’s just a slight fluke or an extended hot streak. However, it’s also nice to say that Pujols no longer has the worst contract in baseball, as that honor belongs to the Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera types of the world.