Why I Think Yasiel Puig Should Start The Season In The Minors
By Scott Andes
Of course that’s what Colletti says, when asked. It seems to me that he’s just spin doctoring this. I mean think about it. What’s he supposed to say? “no, Puig has no chance of making the roster. he has no where to play. He’s going to start in the minors, and any of his future spring at-bats are going to be meaningless.” But the question still remains. Does Yasiel Puig actually have a real shot to make the Dodger’s opening day roster?
I haven’t seen a player catch everyone by storm like this in spring training in a long time. Puig is really putting on a show, and the sirens won’t stop blaring.
Puig-Photo from Jose Sanchez
Puig is the Cuban outfield prospect the Dodgers signed last summer. Puig is 6’3 215 pounds and bats right handed. Puig is ranked by Baseball America as the 47 best prospect in the game. MLB.com ranks him at number 76. Either way, Puig is a top 100 prospect at the very least, however he is playing like a number one ranked prospect.
Puig is quickly taking the Dodger spring by storm, and in the process capturing the hearts of Dodger fans everywhere. Puig is amazing so many people, that Eric Stephen of Truebluela had to create a special daily update just for Puig. He calls it The Daily Puig Update.
In 20 games this spring, Puig is batting .500. That’s not a joke. I am not joking I assure you. Yasiel Pig is hitting .500 this spring. Puig is 23 for 46 with three home runs, and ten RBI. That comes out to an OPS of 1.294! Those are video game numbers.
Now I know everyone is excited and believe me I am excited too. But before we get too excited I wanted to play a little bit of Devil’s advocate. Please, please, please don’t tar and feather me guys. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but Puig is an unknown prospect. We don’t know how he will do against major League pitching. Remember this is spring training, and Cactus League pitching. In many ways, Cactus League pitching is even worse than minor league pitching. There are some non-roster guys that Puig has been facing that I wouldn’t even take on a minor league pitching staff. So that’s why when everyone starts getting real excited about Puig, I am more tempered. It’s one thing to do what he did against spring training pitching, it’s another thing to do it against Major League pitching in your first season.
How would Puig fare against real live Major League pitching? I have no idea. He would probably do pretty good, and I know most of the scouts are all drooling over him. But we just don’t know. He could go straight to the Majors and struggle. A lot of prospects do that. Remember Jerry Sands? Far be it for me to compare Puig with Sands, but the point I am trying to make is, many of these prospects are overrated, and there is way too much hype put on them. it can be next to impossible sometimes to predict how any of them will do.
With that being said, I still think Puig looks great and I would love to see what he can do against Major League pitching. Puig is a five tool type of a player. He can hit, hit for power. He has great running speed, and he has a cannon for an arm. He also can play a solid outfield from what we have seen. Honestly guys, the guy looks like a mac truck out of control when running the bases.
Here’s the thing. Puig is only 22 years old. There is no point in rushing him. He doesn’t have anywhere to play on the big league roster anyways. It’s looking like the Dodger’s left fielder Carl Crawford is going to be ready by opening day. The rest of the Dodger outfield is full obviously with Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. Now I would be fine with giving Puig the fourth outfielder position, but I just don’t see the Dodgers doing that.
And that’s the only position there is room for him to get. It doesn’t matter how well he plays during spring, he is not going to be the Dodger’s everyday left fielder, and he is not going to platoon with anyone. The Dodgers aren’t paying Crawford 100 million dollars so they can platoon him with Puig half the time.
No, Crawford will be starting in left field, and Puig can either be the fourth outfielder on the bench, or start in the minors. Probably double-AA Chattanooga, according to the Dodgers and Ned Colletti. Besides, making sure he has regular playing time everyday is what’s best for his development. Not sitting on the bench waiting for Crawford to come out of the game, or coming in as a pinch-hitter once per game. Before you start thinking about it, don’t. No Puig does not play any other position, he is an outfielder.
I hope nobody gets mad at me for writing this. You know how I feel about being honest with you guys. I feel if I am not honest with you our readers, then I am doing you guys a great disservice.
I love Puig, and am utterly enamored by his prowess on the field. Puig is an amazing athlete, and it looks like he is going to be very good. But why rush him? His development is much more important then weather he makes the Major League roster this season or not. To rush him along and impede his progress would be criminal.
Another problem is, Dodger fans are desperate for any semblance of offense. You can understand why. Last season the Dodgers finished in the bottom of the league in almost every single offensive and or power category, including finishing 29th in home runs, and 16th in batting. So a toolsy power hitting outfielder with a strong arm, that can run is like gold. That’s like waiving a t-bone steak in front of a dog. Puig is like Fillet Mignon to a legion of Dodger fans starving for any semblance of power. Dodger fans were so deprived of any inkling of power that not only would Dodger fans drink from the well of Puig, they would dive, or throw themselves into it. I understand guys, I am right there with you. Patience though guys, Patience.
I have to admit, I am starting to jump on the bandwagon too. But not yet. I still think the Dodgers should do what’s right for his proper development. We have to practice patience guys. Let’s stick to the original plan. Crawford in left, and Puig to start in the minors.
Now if Puig starts raking it down in the minors, then we’ll have to figure something out here, because if he does then there is only so long the Dodgers can keep him down there. Let’s at least give him a couple of months down there and see how he does. Better than him sitting on the Dodger bench and never playing. As I said before, the Dodgers are not paying Crawford 100 million dollars to be in a platoon, or not play. Now if Crawford gets hurt, then by all means, get Puig in the lineup. Until then though, there is no rush.
That Swing is beautiful isn’t it?-Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
What do you guys think? Should the Dodgers put Yasiel Puig on the major league roster for opening day? Or do you agree the Dodgers shouldn’t be rushing his progress?
Once Puig does make it to the big club, then we need to start talking to Eric Smith, Nancy B. Hefley and the rest of the Dodger Stadium P.A. crew. That way we are assured of the right siren sound to play when he comes up to hit. It has to be an air horn. I also envision it possibly being like one of those WWII air raid sirens. It has to be a siren and it has to be loud, to alert everyone to stop what you are doing and watch. It has to be played via the P.A. system every time he comes to the plate. That way everyone knows that Puig is hitting and it’s a Puig alert.
Patience guys. I want to preach Patience. It won’t be long now before we hear those Puig alert sirens blaring from the Dodger Stadium P.A. System. There is plenty of time for Puig to advance to the majors naturally, so why rush him? We’ll all be hearing those sirens wail soon enough.