The 22-year-old Cuban rookie has only been playing in the majors for a month now and he’s the talk of baseball. He first took the field for the Dodgers about a month ago and from his first step onto the field until now, he’s been nothing less than spectacular.
In his first game after being called up from the Chattanooga Lookouts, Puig, who’s 6-3, 245 pounds, wasted no time putting his athleticism on display. At his first ever appearance at the plate he knocked an easy base hit. While playing right field, he went and grabbed a hard hit ball at the fence and then, without hesitation, gunned down the tagging-up base runner at first base. Believe me, the guy has a cannon of an arm.
As if this wasn’t enough of a debut, he knocked a three-run homer to tie the game and then hit another jack after that. You couldn’t have asked for a better first game as a major league baseball player than that. Not only were Dodger fans ecstatic (because that team desperately needed a pick-me-up) but fans of baseball from all parts of the country were ecstatic as well. I mean, what a show.
After that crazy first game, Puig hasn’t slowed down one bit at all. After 26 games as a Dodger, Puig is hitting an outrageous .436 with seven home runs, 12 RBIs, four stolen bases and 19 runs. In that time period, according to USA Today, he’s knocked 44 hits. That number is second to Joe DiMaggio’s 48 hits he knocked in the first month he played in back in May of 1936.
A lot of people are likening him to Bo Jackson for his success at the plate and his athleticism in the field.
“You just don’t see this kind of package,” Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly told the L.A. Times. This is a Bo Jackson type package you just don’t see.”
Others, like those at ESPN.com, are likening Puig to Mike Trout, who had an awesome rookie season last year. I know we’ve only seen a month out of Yasiel Puig but I’m not sure we can compare him to anyone yet. This is a guy you can’t miss when he goes to the plate. It’s almost like it’s going to be a historic moment in baseball when he bats, each and every time.
“Nobody’s going to the bathroom or taking a break when he comes up, that’s for sure,” Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis told USA Today. “He’s pretty amazing. Pretty special. And he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He’s definitely changed this clubhouse, changed the culture.”
For Rockies fans, that’s the big problem right now. Yasiel Puig has singlehandedly changed that Dodgers clubhouse. We aren’t quite half way through this 2013 season yet and the Dodgers, one month ago, looked to be the biggest bust in baseball. They were really struggling to win games. With Puig to the rescue, they are still at the bottom of the mediocre National League West Division but they’ve made a strong comeback.
As of Tuesday, the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks were still at the top of the National League West Division with a record of 42-40. The Rockies, who have also had a bumpy go of things lately, are just one-and-a-half games behind in second place. Then its San Diego at two-and-a-half games behind followed by the Giants at three games behind. The Dodgers are right back in this thing at only three-and-a-half games behind the Diamondbacks. The NL West Division is up for grabs right now and with Puig in the Dodgers lineup, you have to like their chances.
As the NL West irons itself over the next few months, we’ll see how this tight division will play out. It’s a long way out and there’s still a lot of baseball to be played.
But let’s talk Puig again: The big debate now is whether he deserves a spot in the All Star game coming July 16.
Most people I’ve read or listened to on sports talk radio don’t believe Puig will get selected to the National League roster. He needs to get approximately two million online votes to get him in the lineup. That’s a lot of votes to get in a short period of time. He also needs to be added by National League manager Bruce Bochy, which seems like a long shot.
It would be a shame to have to wait an entire year to watch the player everyone is talking about play in the All Star game. I know replacing a veteran with a rookie who has a month-long tenure in the majors is kind of wrong but damn it, we want to see more Puig. If Major League Baseball had any sense, it would find a way to get Puig to New York for the All Star game. He is a player that everyone wants to see. I mean, look at me: Here I am an avid Dodger hater yet I can’t seem to get Puig out of my mind. I want to watch Dodger games on a regular basis now just because of Puig. I am not alone here. Everyone around the world wants a piece of Puig excitement.
In this shoulder season between the NBA and NFL seasons, baseball should do what’s right and put Puig on the national stage. For once, baseball has something positive to talk about.