Before this season, only four pitchers had ever intentionally walked anyone to get to Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols. However, the guy who strode to the plate with the game on the line last month in Anaheim was no longer the all-time terror who’d destroyed the league for a decade. No, he was a 35-year-old player who’d peaked seven years ago and after 14 seasons of caution, pitchers no longer feared the man once known as The Machine.
But we’re speaking about the present now and we’re seeing a newly improved Pujols, who’s easily a top-25 offensive player that earning is his paycheck as he delivers .264 batting averages with 26 HRs and 56 RBIs. Is the Pujos back for good? We’re not sure, but we do know he’ll be starting in this year’s MLB All-Star game (in place of the injured Miguel Cabrera) and will participate in the Home Run Derby and for that reason, he’s our Athlete of the Week!