The year is 2022 and Albert Pujols and Johnny Cueto are still dominating the MLB.
Well, at least for a week.
The Players of the Week were announced on Monday and Cueto was the American League winner, while Pujols won the National League award with his teammate, Paul Goldschmidt.
This has been an incredible turnaround for the 36-year-old Cueto.
After signing a minor-league deal to start the season, the Chicago White Sox added Cueto in May and he has been great for them all season.
In 118.2 innings with the White Sox, Cueto has an ERA of 2.58 despite only 73 strikeouts.
The righty no longer has the dominant stuff we saw in Cincinnati, but he is still effective.
Cueto has been so great this season that he has the third-highest WAR in the American League.
The 4.1 WAR trails only Justin Verlander and teammate Dylan Cease.
Over this past week, Cueto made two starts.
In those games, he threw 16.2 innings and allowed only one run.
Also, in three of his last four starts, Cueto has pitched at least eight innings.
The White Sox have had a starter pitch 8+ innings 4 times this season — all by Johnny Cueto.
Cueto’s 2022 ERA is now 2.58 across 118.2 innings pitched.@SoxMuse pic.twitter.com/EKhdTHFp2B
— StatMuse (@statmuse) August 21, 2022
His lack of strikeouts allows him to go deep into games and help out the Chicago bullpen.
This is the third time in Cueto’s career that he has won the Player of the Week honor.
Winning once in 2014 with the Reds and 2016 with the Giants.
The White Sox have been one of the most underachieving teams in the MLB this season.
But, Cueto has done his part to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Machine Keeps Going
In a season that no one saw coming, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols is closing in on 700 home runs and has been awesome of late.
Since the All-Star break, Pujols is hitting a .439 with eight home runs and 18 RBI.
In the last week, Pujols hit .526 with four homers and eight RBI, including a game where he went 4-4 with two home runs.
The 42-year-old has dominated left-handed pitching all season.
His splits include a .439 batting average, a .807 slugging percentage, and 1.243 OPS.
ALBERT PUJOLS IS UNREAL 😳 @BRWalkoff
Career HR No. 693 for The Machine 💪
(via @BallySportsMW) pic.twitter.com/Zgv5nxjAf0
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 23, 2022
Simply put, Pujols is having a legendary season against lefties.
This is Pujols’ 13th Player of the Week honor in his career.
The last time he won this award was in August of 2012 when he was 32 and played for the Angels.
Thanks to this incredible run of home runs, 700 career homers are no longer out of reach like we thought they might be before the season.
The designated hitter being added to the NL might be one big reason for Pujols’ success.
He is a DH only at this point in his career and now he gets to take this last rise with the team he spent the majority of his career with.
Pujols has helped jolt the Cardinals into first place in the NL Central and it would be awesome to see The Machine back in the playoffs.
Both Cueto and Pujols were two of the most unlikely players to win this award before the season.
But, now that they have it will be fun to see them finish off their incredible seasons.NEXT: MLB Insider Reveals How Teams Are Going At Aaron Judge