Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Star is Born in Yasiel Puig

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed outfielders Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp on the disabled list this past week.  This made room for the team to call up their top prospect, 22 year old outfielder Yasiel Puig.  Puig(pronounced "pweeg") was originally signed by the Dodgers for seven years and $42 million in 2012.  Puig was the talk of this past spring training as he displayed his talents as a 5 tool player - hit for average, hit for power, speed, field and throw.  He did not make the big league club out of spring training and everyone has been anticipating his MLB debut ever since.

2013 Bowman Chrome mini refractor
The wait came to an end last night as he started in right field against the San Diego Padres.  Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made Puig his leadoff hitter in the batting order, which is a rarity for someone in their major league debut.  Mattingly wanted to generate some excitement at the top of the order that has been lacking production much like their crosstown Angels did with Mike Trout a year ago.  
Puig did not disappoint. He got his first major league hit as he looped a ball to centerfield in his first at bat and later had a seeing eye single to right field.  He did not look overmatched at all during any of his at bats as he finished with the two hits in four plate appearances.  Puig also showcased his speed as he ran the basepaths.
In the field, he showed off his arm twice as he made strong throws to 2nd base and home plate.  Both base runners were called safe despite Puig's well thrown balls.  It was Puig's third and final throw that people will be talking about.  With one out and one man on in the ninth inning, Puig caught the ball at the warning track and threw to first in one motion to double off the baserunner, Chris Denorfia to end the game, a 2-1 Dodger victory.
Puig displayed four out of the five tools all in his major league debut.  I know this is just one game, but I am sure the rest of major league baseball took notice. Especially made a note not run on Puig's arm.  Puig will eventually have bad games and struggle as everyone else.  He would have to make adjustments to their opposition's gameplans, but I have no doubt he will as he showed maturity and athleticsm to do so.  He also may be back in the minors soon when Crawford and Kemp are ready to play again.  But right now, Yasiel Puig made his major league debut one that will be remembered for awhile. 

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