Is powerful Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig worth the hype?

Published On June 5, 2013 | By Sarah Kirkpatrick

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig is building quite a following among baseball fans. With two home runs in his second game in the majors, people are already proclaiming Puig the savior of baseballSome are comparing him to Bo Jackson.

But are people expecting too much out of him too early? Let’s slow down a bit. This kid’s 22 years old and is only in his second game.

(Okay, fine, I drank the Puig Kool-Aid too. I picked him up in fantasy last night. I just couldn’t resist.)

Puig hit .517 during spring training for the Dodgers, but when there are guys named Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier on your roster, you aren’t going to have much of a shot of making the big leagues right away, and he was sent to the minors to get a chance to play every day. But with Ethier and Kemp on the 15-day disabled list, Puig got the call.

And boy, has he taken advantage.

In his first eight plate appearances, he’s gotten on base five times. Last night, with his two homers (That ties him with Kemp for total homers this season), he batted in five runs. His current OPS is a scorching 2.125 and he has yet to strike out. He’s the first Dodger since 1947 to have a five-RBI game and three extra-base hits in the first two games. Since 1916, he’s one of 16 MLB players to have a multi-homer game in his first two games.

Yes, it’s only two games, but looking at his minor league stats, it’s hard to resist being so excited. In 2012 at the A+ level, he hit .354/.442/.634 with five homers in 95 plate appearances. This season, in Double-A Chattanooga, he posted a .313/.383/.599 and cranked eight home runs in 167 trips to the plate.

Defensively, he’s a force too. In 68 chances in the minors, he had no errors and three outfield assists. He brought his defense with him to the majors, with this awesome double play to end Monday’s game. Look at that arm!

According to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, Puig still has a lot to learn about base running, but once he solves those issues, he has a ton of potential to be an elite player. He’s been working with Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes to gain some insight on base running. 

Puig stole 13 bases on 18 attempts this year in AA.

He might have work to do on the basepaths, but Puig is still a five-tool player with incredible raw power. He’s obviously not going to average a home run a game for the rest of the season, but regardless, he’ll provide a lot of pop for this surprisingly low-power Dodgers squad. He’s worth a pickup in fantasy ball if no one in your league has already snagged him, and definitely will provide a reason for Dodgers fans to rejoice this season. He’ll be a lot of fun to watch in the upcoming weeks.

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About The Author

Sarah is a Seattle native studying journalism at Boston University. She covers track and field, cross country and women’s hockey and is Sports Editor at The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kirkpatrick_SJ.