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The Yasiel Puig excitement is palpable … but

Mar 25, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

Yasiel Puig

Call this a deep thought. And it’s even one I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, so it’s a recycled deep thought. But given how the heat around Yasiel Puig is rising, I feel like it’s still timely.

Puig, the Dodgers’ young Cuban import, has been hitting the friggin’ cover off the ball this spring. He’s hitting .527/.509/.855 through 16 Cactus League games this spring, and despite the fact that the Dodgers’ outfield would appear to be set with Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, Puig is still on the big league roster so he may very well break camp with the team.

For a couple of weeks we’ve been hearing comparisons of Puig to other established stars like Vladimir Guerrero and physical beasts like Bo Jackson. Today Buster Olney has a big writeup on him which talks about some of that. There will be more in the coming days.

I also predict a bright future for Puig because he is so damn strong and big and fast and, at this point in his career, defensively versatile.  Seeing him rake in the multiple Dodgers games I witnessed in Arizona in late February and early March was easily the highlight of my spring training trip, and the biggest baseball-related takeaway. He was quite impressive. But I also remember seeing him swing at fastballs in his eyes a lot and seeing him do is worst damage late in games against marginal pitching talent or when guys were behind in counts and had runners on base and just needed to get something over.

Which, hey, to be an awesome hitter you have to hit slop too. But I also feel like major league pitching has something pretty harsh in store for him at first. Specifically, lots of stuff out of the strike zone which he has to show he won’t offer at all the time. The kind of stuff you simply don’t see a ton of in spring training, at least not early. Puig may very well have his own adjustments in store too. He may anticipate that no one will give him good stuff to hit, he may exceed expectations and make a giant splash once the bell rings.  But I’m a bit skeptical right now.

I’m not hating on him. Just saying that, if Puig is to be a big star, as I feel he could be, it could take a while, that’s all. He’s green.

  1. a125125125 - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Come to see Craig impersonate a writer…..stay to watch Craig impersonate a scout.

    Instead of talking to ACTUAL scouts (or Sabrmatricians) about Puig, Craig is giving you his view based on the “multiple Dodger games” he “witnessed.” Okay Craig….thanks for your small sample size, completely untrained, worthless opinion. I’ll be sure to take it under advisement.

    • paperlions - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      You are an asshole.

      Lest you question my credentials. I am a card carrying asshole, and have extensive experience identifying assholes. Based on the repeated evidence you have provided in comment sections, I can safely conclude you are an asshole.

      • a125125125 - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Like noted buffoon Craig Calcaterra with Puig, you are making that judgment based on an exceedingly small sample size.

      • thekcubrats - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Really sorry about that small sample size of yours. But it makes sense, given the things you say.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        Oh, I figure it only has to shit once before I know what it’s for.

      • nategearhart - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        HOLY SHIT a125125125 replied to somebody! Never thought I’d see the day.
        And no, considering you show up spouting inane horseshit on every other post, I’d say the sample is more than ample. I’m with paperlions; you’re an asshole.

      • stex52 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        Gotta go with the majority here.

      • a125125125 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        Waaaahhhhh! Quit picking on Craig. He’s our hero and knows everything about baseball! He learned it all by watching on TV and listening to geniuses like Don Sutton and Joe Simpson. Waaaaaaahhh!

        Craig has virtually zero practical baseball knowledge….and can’t be bothered to ask anyone to share their knowledge. Sorry if none of you are intelligent enough to realize it.

      • paperlions - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Obviously, you don’t pay much attention. People disagree with Craig’s opinion on a regular basis, I doubt anyone here agrees with Craig all the time (or even close to that)….but there is a difference between disagreeing an providing a counter argument and just being a trolltastic asshole that contributes nothing to a discussion.

      • indaburg - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        You’ve made your fan boys very proud today, ‘lions.

      • cur68 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        I gotta agree with ‘lions on this one. He’s right in every respect.

    • bh192012 - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      *Warning dipshit alert*

      Based on the spring training stats, I can see Yasiel Puig’s carrer taking a similar trajectory as Eric Sogard’s.

      • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        Because no future stars have ever done well in spring training?

    • ghostfishhunter - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Sample size is all relative. Some prefer a smaller sample size, and when it comes down to it, it’s not the size of the sample that matters, but how you use it.

  2. tmohr - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    527/509/855?

    Evidently, you can’t walk off Cuba, either.

    • kingscourt25 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Not walking is okay on a few exception, such as this, when your hitting the cover off the baseball.

      His plate discipline isn’t even as bad as Craig is making it out to be. He’s been able to lay off of bad pitches and work the count into his favor. Just because he isn’t walking doesn’t mean his plate discipline is Mo Pena-esque.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Can’t walk off any of the islands.

    • Uncle Charlie - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      How the hell do you get an obp 20 points lower than your batting average

      • Kevin S. - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        More sacrifices than BB/HBP.

      • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Kevin S. is correct that sacrifices with no BB/HBP can result in a lower OBP and batting average,but that’s not the case with Puig.

        Calcaterra made a typo. Puig’s line should read .527/.527/.855.

    • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Puig hasn’t walked, but that OBP is a typo. The stats line I read show .527/.527/.855.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        That’s incorrect. Where are you getting your numbers? Puig has 2 sac flies, Craig’s line above is correct: http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=624577#gameType='S'&sectionType=gameLog&statType=1&season=2013&level='ALL

    • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Cuba is an island, of course!

  3. APBA Guy - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I haven’t seen enough of this guy to have a definite opinion yet, but he reminds me of Wily Mo Pena. Pena never made the necessary adjustments to major league pitchers to have a sustained career. But he was big and immensely strong. Cespedes was able to adjust last year as ML pitchers changed speeds, moved the ball around, etc..
    It will be interesting to see what the Dodgers do with Puig.

    • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Hey APBA Guy, a quote from Buster Olney’s column addresses your concerns:

      “Sometimes, you get those big guys like Wily Mo Pena and he’s got a big long swing,” said one Cactus League observer. “But Puig has such a short, quick swing.”

  4. spudchukar - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Too bad he cannot play 3B.

    • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      He’s certainly worth a try at shortstop, right now.

  5. nategearhart - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Comparing ANYONE to Bo friggin’ Jackson is the very definition of hyperbole.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Except Cano. Bo knows.

    • flcounselor - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Agreed.

      He reminds more of when I saw Albert Pujols his first year at spring training.

  6. thegreatstoneface - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    ….so, he’s got obvious talent, but no one knows what he’s really going to be able to do with it. he’ll need to make adjustments, and then again, and again.

    so, he’s a young player without much track record here in the states, and we’ll know more about what he really is once he starts playing in real games on a regular basis.

    probably not enough words for an article, though, huh?

  7. davidpom50 - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I tend to think that the excitement around Puig is not just the gaudy numbers, it’s HOW he’s doing it. Every ball is hit hard, he’s not swinging and missing much, he’d demonstrated blazing speed to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples, and he’ shown a rocket arm to record 3 outfield assists. Seems like every time you look, he’s flashing another tool with the potential to be plus-plus. I’m all for sending him down to the minors to refine his game, to turn those raw tools into consistent baseball production, but boy am I excited for the day he makes it to the bigs.

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