As Dodgers’ OF Yasiel Puig winds up on the DL once again, it begs the question: Where does he go from here?
Warning: the next sentence may be disturbing for some readers. Yasiel Puig may just be one of the Dodger’s most talented players. Based off his 2016 season, I wouldn’t blame you if you think this LA heat wave is making me delusional.
Puig has basically been a black hole in the lineup for most of the season. Even with a little hot streak out of the gate, his slash line now sits at .237/.283/.360. I wouldn’t wish that production even on the Giants.
To make matters worse, the ghost of Puig’s 2015 hamstring injuries have come back to haunt him, forcing him to the DL. Is it really worse though?
For all the hot takes that were directed at his 2015 season, he was actually pretty good when healthy. Outside of two DL stints (one for each hamstring), he gave the Dodgers a .758 OPS. Not up to par with his 2013-14, but by OPS+, he was 10 percent better than league average.
A lot of people thought Puig had hit rock bottom, but unfortunately, he proved them wrong by churning out a .643 OPS this season. That would easily be a career worst, leading me to believe that some time on the DL may not be the worst thing for both Puig and the Dodgers.
My reasoning is pretty simple. Puig could probably use some time off from swinging at balls in the dirt to clear his head and rest his hamstring. The Dodgers aren’t hurt too badly by this because they weren’t really getting much out of him anyway.
It benefits the team to get him back in the lineup healthy, and hopefully in a better place mentally. We’ve seen what Puig is capable of when he’s at his best, and at just 25 years old, it’s too early to give up on him.
The Dodgers in general have had trouble with hamstrings in recent seasons. As we learned from Matt Kemp, hamstrings can be fickle and can turn a promising season into a lost one.
Why the Dodger’s hamstrings have such little respect for human life is a story for another time, but as long as he doesn’t rush his rehab, this DL stay can be a blessing in disguise.