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Yasiel Puig is going to slow it down this year

Feb 17, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

Yasiel Puig AP AP

I’ll believe it when I see it — I feel like it’s going to take a big injury for Puig to be anything less than a race car in the red, in every sense of the term — but Dylan Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are working on slowing down Yasiel Puig:

“The fans go to the stadium to enjoy themselves,” Puig said in Spanish. “After work, they spend their free time watching us play. We have to do our best to entertain them.”

Puig did that last season with a hair-raising style of play, electrifying crowds in becoming one of baseball’s top draws as a rookie. However, Puig also acknowledges he has to be more restrained on the field, admitting he has to be smarter on the bases and learn when to hit the cutoff man rather than throw directly to the plate from right field.

I like that Puig acknowledges that he’s an entertainer. I feel like baseball would be more fun if more players felt that way. But yeah, hitting the cutoff man kind of matters. As does not chasing balls a foot out of the strike zone.

If he can manage to stay intense and fun while refining his game, he’ll be the biggest thing ever. If he just does one or the other he’ll still be worth watching, even if he’s got issues. If he ratchets things back and doesn’t improve, man, snoozeville.

  1. DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    All well and good – but will he be gritty?

    • historiophiliac - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Nope, washed it all off in the D-backs’ pool. It’s a wonder their filters didn’t get all clogged up.

  2. davidpom50 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Somewhere, Brian McCann felt a cold shiver run down his spine. SOMETHING IS WRONG.

  3. sportsfan18 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    He has the tools to be special…

    I don’t know if the has the mind that will enable him to fully utilize his talents…

    For all the money the Dodgers have thrown around, Puig is actually cheap… 7 yrs at $6 million a year average. $42 million contract will seem incredibly cheap IF he’s able to continue producing.

    Guess if he does produce, he’ll start to gripe about only making $6 million a year with what he’s doing compared to others…

    • RonKarate - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      I don’t know if the has the mind that will enable him to fully utilize his talents…

      Why do you think that? Because he’s a 22 year old multimillionaire that drives too fast? Or is it something else?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      I can come to some conclusions about the way you think especially considering that humdinger of a conclusion about how Puig is gonna start griping about only making $6 million a year.

      It goes like this: Strawman arguments come from the minds of scarecrows.

      Have a great rest of your day.

  4. stex52 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    These flashy rookies come sailing into baseball and create this huge media buzz (Harper the other obvious example) and all of a sudden people have their minds made up what they are going to be. No consideration for learning, improving or maturing in anyone’s minds. They are just instantly stars or jerks or whatever picture you want to impose on them.

    Get over it people. They are kids. They are learning. They are growing up. Enjoy them for what they are. The game has a way of cutting down people who are too arrogant. But don’t go by that snapshot you happened to take the first year they played.

    I, for one, wish Puig was on my team.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      I guess we get to see if Dodgers fans are better than Yankees fans…who are still complaining about Cano’s “lack of hustle.” Hopefully, Dodgers fans will be understanding/realistic.

      • Professor Fate - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Unlike Yankees fans, us Dodgers supporters have no problem getting behind a dynamic player without reservation (including not vilifying them if they don’t perform). We’re disappointed if they flame-out, or if a prospect or trade doesn’t live up to expectations, but we just move on to the next possibility. It’s about the team, not just the individual player.

        This outlook helps explain why certain players (JD Drew comes to mind) weren’t embraced while they were on the team and not missed when they left. Besides, after Fox and The Parking Lot Attendant (McCourt), the current ownership is in a position where they can do no wrong, since they’ve doing everything in their considerable power to improve the team. Fans understand that not every acquisition is going to work out. Play well, we love you. Be self-centered, and/or indifferent, without producing and we soon put in the rear-view mirror.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        Puig’s outfield hustle last year almost broke every bone in Ethier’s body.

        Another thing worth remembering: The human brain continues to develop into our body’s 27th year.

  5. notsofast10 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Dodger fans ARE better than Yankee fans period! Cano is just one of a plethora of things Yankee fan has complained about over the years!

    • blabidibla - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Which is why the Dodger fan shows up early and never leaves before the final out, watches every play without the distraction of beach balls and other silliness, and always treat opposing fans with grace and courtesy.

  6. Professor Fate - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    The only place I want to see Puig “slow down” some is at the plate. There’s a very good chance he’ll develop more patience and selection in the box. As the game comes to him he’ll be able to pick and choose when he needs to kick it into that higher gear he has.

    • davidpom50 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Not only a good chance he’ll develop more patience, a demonstrated improvement. BB% by month: June – 3.7%; July – 7.6%; August – 11.6%; Sept/Oct – 10.1%.

      And then he got a full off season working with McGwire, who stresses selectiveness above all else.

  7. chunkala - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Puig is definitely in for the inevitable sophomore slump, the question is whether he rebounds in 2015.

  8. jolink653 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    “Yasiel Puig is going to slow it down this year”

    He probably should have taken that advice while behind the wheel

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      He has, as he hired his cousin to drive him.

  9. mso88 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    The off-season is a great time for Puig to move forward with learning English and remind himself that reporters really ARE from the Secret Police.

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