Following an iconic 11-year stint with St. Louis from 2001 to 2011, the future Hall of Famer started to decline during his time with the Los Angeles Angels.
Pujols was serviceable for L.A. up until 2016, but after that season ended, his production really started to take a hit.
From 2017 to 2021, the veteran struggled mightily, and it felt like he was simply out of steam.
However, a reunion with the Cardinals has seemingly changed everything for Pujols this season, as he’s having his best campaign in years.
The three-time MVP is in his final MLB season, and he’s going out with a bang.
As mentioned, Pujols had a pretty rough stretch from 2017 to 2021.
During that five-season span, he batted just .241 with an OPS of .700 and OPS+ of 87.
Additionally, he posted a bWAR of -1.8 over that stretch, and he didn’t have a single season with a bWAR above 0.3.
This season, things have been different.
For one, he’s batting .273 with an OPS of .864 and OPS+ of 146.
Perhaps more notably, he has earned a bWAR of 1.2 so far, meaning he has added more value this season than he did over his previous five seasons combined.
He figures to add to his bWAR total before the 2022 campaign ends, but as it stands now, this has been his best season since 2016 (when he posted a bWAR of 1.5).
Albert Pujols you are incredible! pic.twitter.com/wesDiK67ws
— Cards Nation (@CardsNation13) August 21, 2022
The 11-time All-Star is emptying the tank in his final season, and he’s making an undeniably positive impact in the process.
Going Out The Right Way
Pujols has already put together one of the most memorable careers in MLB history, and he has nothing left to prove at this point.
But after several years of struggles, it has to feel good for him to put together a productive final season.
He may not be playing like the unstoppable force he once was, but he’s finding a way to contribute and help the Cardinals as they look to win their division.
As things stand now, St. Louis has a six-game lead for first place in the NL Central, and the team is 20 games over .500.
On top of that, the Cardinals have one of the easiest remaining schedules in all of baseball, which is something the team will look to take advantage of over the rest of the regular season.
The Cardinals have to feel good about where they currently are.
Pujols has played a big role in helping the squad get there, and the two-time World Series champion would certainly love nothing more than to win one more ring before he walks away from the game he loves.
Time will tell if that’s in the cards.
For now, Pujols is surely enjoying every moment of his final season and looking to keep his impressive campaign moving in the right direction.
ALBERT PUJOLS IS UNREAL 😳 @BRWalkoff
Career HR No. 693 for The Machine 💪
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 23, 2022
The Cardinals are set to open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, then they’ll face the Chicago Cubs in another three-game series later in the week.