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Cardinals’ Superstar – Albert Pujols

Pujols' accomplishments in his first five seasons have dwarfed such big names as Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Joe DiMaggio. An argument can be made that no athlete in any sport has ever dominated so quickly. In his first five seasons, he has averaged 40 homeruns, 124 RBI's, 126 runs scored, and a .332 average. It is no wonder that his name was the first called out in Fantasy Drafts across the country this past March. Early this season, Pujols is making noise once again.

He leads all of baseball with 12 homeruns and 28 RBI's. His 12 homeruns in April broke Mark McGuire's franchise record set during his historic 70 homerun season. This past Friday, he tied Todd Helton for the second-fastest active player to reach 1,000 hits. Pujols needed only 3,003 at bats. Tony LaRussa has marveled at his good fortune at having a player like Pujols.

LaRussa has gushed that he is "the complete package with no weaknesses to exploit." For this reason, everyone is impressed at how hard he works to improve his game. In the off-season, Pujols spends his time studying videos to learn opposing pitchers’ techniques. During the season, he uses video not only to study pitchers, but also to do maintenance checkups of his own swing. Bet MLB Baseball Player Props @ WagerWeb.com A perfectionist to the max, Pujols still wants to cut down on his strikeouts. LaRussa has commented that he works harder now than he did as a rookie, which is why the Cardinals had no qualms handing out a seven year- $100 million dollar commitment to him so early in his career. Unlike many superstars, Pujols has embraced his status as a role model. He understands that it is a player's responsibility to deal with fans and the media in a professional manner. Pujols makes it a point to play hard and run everything out because the kids are watching.

The amazing thing about Pujols' accomplishments and maturity is that it is so easy to forget he is still only 24. It is refreshing in these days of spoiled athletes and steroid scandals to have a superstar like Pujols come on the scene so dramatically. Pujols may have to continue his torrid pace if the Cardinals are to capture their third straight division title. This Cardinal version might be slightly weaker without Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker in the outfield and a question mark surrounding second base. Central is shaping up to be the toughest division in the National League if not in all of baseball. But LaRussa's Cardinals know they are competing with the player who may one day be remembered as the greatest hitter the game has ever seen. MLB Baseball Betting Odds and Player Props @ WagerWeb.com Sportsbook.


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