Against all odds, Albert Pujols has become "The Machine" once more.
'Twas May the 6th of last summer, the year of our Lord 2021, when I, Sheehan Planas-Arteaga of the Peanut Gallery, wrote about the fall of Albert Pujols. He had just been released by the Los Angeles Angels after hitting .198 across 24 games. He was 41 and hadn't had a good season in the box since 2016. I said he was done; no one would sign him in 2021 and this would probably be the end for "The Machine."
Then the Dodgers signed him, and the Cardinals after that. He's hit 26 jacks in his last 391 at bats. He has a higher OPS this season than Shohei Ohtani. I'm here to own up to my blasphemous ways when I doubted the one and only Albert Pujols, as he's turned back the clock like few ever have. You can fire off hot takes in the Peanut Gallery, but you gotta be able to take your losses as well.
Seeing Beach Balls
Albert Pujols hit a home run yesterday on a ball at his chin. He's hit seven home runs in his last ten games, four of which have come in multi-home run games. Whatever you throw at Albert Pujols right now, he's annihilating.
Mind you, there's no discernible difference in Pujols other than the results. He still moves around like he's 52 instead of 42. But baseball, at its core, is a skill sport. You can give a player all the athleticism in the world and it still might not make him a good hitter. Pujols, even in his prime, has never had freakish physical gifts to lean on. His mind is what sets him apart, as it does for all great hitters. When you compile 12,921 MLB plate appearances like Albert has, you learn a few things that, in the right circumstances like we're seeing now, can pay dividends.
Pujols currently sits at 693 home runs. He's got a little over a month to send seven more offerings into the seats in order to become the fourth player ever to reach 700 (Bonds, Aaron, Ruth).
I'm...not gonna predict whether he gets there or not. I'll just stick to rooting for his epic swan song to continue. He has claimed this is it for him, regardless of where he ends up on the all-time home run leaderboard. If Albert Pujols is serious about calling it a career after 2022, he's provided us all with one of the most legendary and improbable final acts in baseball history.