Dodgers: Five Positive Takeaways from the First Two Weeks of the Season
Ahhh, Yasiel Puig. Every fan loves to praise him, and every fan loves to bash him. Well, Puig has cooled down considerably since this last series against the Rockies, but his at-bats look greatly improved. Puig is hitting the ball really hard and has a hard-hit rate of 34.7%. That’s a bit below his rate in 2013 during his prolific start (37.5%).
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So Puig making very good contact with the ball is a good sign. But another good sign is that he’s striking out far less. Last season Puig was striking out at a 20% rate. This season, Puig’s strikeout rate is just below 12%. Normally, not always, that correlates with an increase in walk rate, and in this case, it does. Puig’s walk rate is up nearly 10% from 6% last season to 15% this season. That’s the best walk rate Puig has ever had.
A big change in Puig’s analytics is that he’s an improved breaking ball hitter. His [batting] pitch value over sliders (2.54), changeups (11.64), and curveballs (4.37) are all twice as high as they were last season. Of course, this is a sample size of only 67 plate appearances.
Next: Journey of Justin Turner
But regardless anyone with an eye for baseball can see that Puig is having better at-bats. He’s showing poise and confidence when at the plate. The numbers are just numbers at the end of the day. Baseball has a way of evening the luck out over the course of the season. If Puig continues his approach at the plate, he’ll be in for one of his best full season as a big leaguer.