Skip to content

Don Mattingly: Yasiel Puig “hasn’t proven himself to be an RBI guy yet”

Feb 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

There are valid reasons for the Dodgers to bat Yasiel Puig leadoff this season, but this logic from manager Don Mattingly is interesting:

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Mattingly feels that Puig needs to be more calm in RBI situations like veterans Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez. To be fair, Puig didn’t get much of a chance to test himself as a rookie last year, as he only received 90 plate appearances with runners in scoring position while mostly hitting in the first two spots in the order. Puig hit .234/.374/.416 with four home runs, 16 RBI, and a 19/16 K/BB ratio with runners in scoring position, so he didn’t produce as much in those situations as he did in others, but production with runners in scoring position often varies from year to year and it isn’t necessarily predictive or indicative of a particular skill. Earning the reputation as an “RBI guy” is more about placement in the batting order than anything else. For now, it seems, Puig will remain near the top of the lineup.

  1. shawnuel - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    It’s kinda dumb to label someone “not an RBI guy” when he hasn’t been put in an RBI producing spot in the line-up.

    • yahmule - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Kinda dumb to label any player with four months of major league service as anything, but they didn’t hire Don for his smarts.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        “they didn’t hire Don for his smarts”

        Oh HELL no they didn’t. Talk about undervaluing your assets! In general, when I have an employee who isn’t the best at something he or she should be good at, I get them more experience so they CAN be good at it.

        Man, what I wouldn’t give to be in business negotiations with Don Mattingly. instead i get stuck with people who bootstrapped themselves up, clawing and fighting for everything, chock full of knowledge, and smarter than me. Oy vey

        Message to Don Mattingly: We can provide custom services for all your IT interface needs, routering and business connections. Just sign up now for our escalating, binding, no-opt out contract for services. We’ll keep your obligated rates low for the first month then increase by a mere 0.5%/month (compounded monthly on the new rate) over the lifetime obligation for our services.

  2. Glenn - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Maybe Mattingly can bat Ricky Henderson and Willie Randolph in front of Puig. It worked for Mattingly.

    • genericcommenter - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Yep, and he definitely wasn’t an RBI guy himself in 1983.

  3. mybrunoblog - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Puig being overweight and an off the field problem probably has nothing to do with Mattingly being down on him right?

    • Kevin S. - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      He didn’t say he was down on him – those would have been valid criticisms. He claimed he was deciding where he hits in the lineup based on where he hadn’t been allowed to previously hit in the lineup. It’s the rationale that’s the problem.

  4. thomas844 - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Dude can obviously get on base and run fast. He’ll be just fine hitting 1st or 2nd as he has been. The Dodgers have got plenty of guys behind him to drive him in.

    • Kevin S. - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      And that’s fine… it’s Donnie’s rationale people are questioning, not the move itself.

  5. angrytwitterguy - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    LOL is all I can say, Love Donnie Baseball but LOL

  6. Professor Fate - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    News flash: This tactic goes by an interesting name. It’s called “motivation.” Besides, would you move Gonzalez or Ramirez or a healthy Kemp out of the middle of the order for Puig? He’ll be fine at the top (as long as he loses a little of that offseason weight).

  7. Tim OShenko - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    In other news, Dylan Hernandez has an awesome twitter avatar.

  8. onbucky96 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    He’s proven himself to being a non-law abiding driver.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Says the guy who NEVER goes over the speed limit.

  9. unclemosesgreen - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Mattingly probably also thinks that Zack Greinke hasn’t proven himself a winning pitcher yet. And Jon Heyman would approve that thought.

    • mikhelb - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Mmmh nope, that’s not what Donnie said, your comment would make sense if you said “Zack Greinke has not proved that he can fight after hitting rival batters on purpose”.

  10. mikhelb - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    “Earning the reputation as an “RBI guy” is more about placement in the batting order than anything else. For now, it seems, Puig will remain near the top of the lineup.”

    Why didn’t you use “men on base” and instead went for “RISP”? Was it because 40% of Puig’s at bats were with men on base and it didn’t fit your narrative?

    Puig had 90 PA RISP in 2013 = 20.8% of his total PA —> 0.234 AVG, 21 RBI (substracting the 4 times he scored himself on homeruns, he didn’t impulsate himself because he wasn’t on scoring position)

    Puig had 174 PA with men on base in 2013 = 40.27% of his total PA —> 0.259 AVG. 23 RBI (substracting the 5 times he scored himself on homeruns, he didn’t impulsate himself because he wasn’t on base).

    On top of that overall he had an insanely high BAbip of 0.383.

    In comparison with Adrián:

    González had 188 PA with RISP or 29.32% for a 0.323 AVG and 72 RBI (not counting the 7 times he impulsated himself with a HR because he wasn’t in scoring position).

    González had 312 PA with men on base or 48.67% for a 0.308 AVG and 78 RBI (not counting the 11 times he impulsated himself with a HR because he wasn’t on base).

    His overall BAbip was 0.315

    “production with runners in scoring position often varies from year to year and it isn’t necessarily predictive or indicative of a particular skill.”

    Not necessarily, check the proportion of PA per total PA and the rate of runs produced per PA (RBI not counting the runs they RBI’d when they scored in their own homeruns) and you can see that it doesn’t varies as much as you think, there are other ways to check it but for beginners I say you can begin by using that.

    • mikhelb - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      PS the proportion of runs created needs to take into account careers longers than 5 years to have a database a bit bigger (it would be best with 12+ seasons of data per batter).

      • tnmup18 - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        But after 12+ years, who really cares?

    • 14thinningstretch - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      Tomorrow’s narratives today! When Puig’s BABIP regresses this year, will people write that a) Puig’s lack of maturity shows that he’s not cut out for the grind of a full season, b) that he’s trying to do too much, c) something something flash in the pan, or d) all of the above.

  11. louhudson23 - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    RBI are are about hitters actually producing when placed in certain spots in the lineup….You can’t put just anyone in there and have them produce,and no matter who you put in there,there must be someone on for there to be production. Zack Greinke is not an RBI guy and it has nothing to do with where he bats.Orlando Cabrera is an RBI guy,limited only by his opportunities,and in that way only,does his lineup position play a role…. ….the player is the first consideration,then lineup position…

  12. yordo - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    He also hasn’t proven he belongs on a MLB roster.

  13. uniofsd - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Ahh yes the RBI, quite possibly the most overrated offensive stat in baseball, kind of like Wins for pitchers.

    • johndimitri - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      Exactly. Hitting with runners on base has always been a waste of time. And losing 3-2 will always be better than winning 5-4…to fans of losing teams.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Who are the favorites for Rookie of the Year?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. Y. Molina (3240)
  2. J. Soler (3238)
  3. R. Castillo (2830)
  4. D. Wright (2225)
  5. S. Doolittle (2055)
  1. D. Murphy (2053)
  2. B. Colon (2045)
  3. D. Ortiz (2024)
  4. T. Lincecum (1954)
  5. R. Cano (1938)