My Early-Season Assessment
To put it simply, Pujols is the greatest hitter of his generation and among the greatest to ever play the game. Sure, he had a 'down' year last year and is not off to a roaring start in 2012, but he has been too good for too long not to get the benefit of the doubt.
Will the Angels regret his 10-year, $240 million deal five years from now when he's 36 years old and making $25 million?
Probably, but for now he makes them a legitimate World Series contender, and there is little doubt he'll put up numbers by season's end.
My Midseason Assessment (Grade: B)
May 6. It wasn't until May 6 that Pujols hit his first home run of the season, as he entered play that day with a .194 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI line through 108 at-bats.
Since that day, he's hit .315 BA, 12 HR, 43 RBI over 200 at-bats, as he has clearly gotten back on track. The Angels are firing on all cylinders right now, and with Pujols finally dialed in, they can once again be considered legitimate contenders.
My End-of-Season Assessment (Grade: B+)
With a .305 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI second half, Pujols showed that his horrendous start to the season was a fluke and not the beginning of the end for the 32-year-old slugger.
His days of 40 HR and batting-title contention may be behind him, but he should be solid for .300 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI for the foreseeable future. It really is a matter of when, not if, his contract becomes a burden on the Angels, but it doesn't look like 2013 will be the time.