Dodgers: Puig Off to a Familiar Start
The Dodgers need some help offensively and Puig may be the one to help. Puig’s numbers have looked good to start the season for the most part. Some of these numbers look a little familiar to what Puig was doing when he first joined the Dodgers in 2013, and that’s a Puig we all want to see.
Puig has made Dodgers‘ fans happy from the start this season. He’s staying out of trouble, getting on-base, and driving runners home. It may have only been 21 games so far, but when you take a closer look at his numbers, they start to show some hope.
In his first 12 games of the season, Puig matched his same numbers from when he made his remarkable debut in 2013. He hit four home runs and drove in 11 runs. Since then, however, he hasn’t hit another home run, has just two RBI, and the Dodgers have gone 3-6 in the nine games since. Bottom line, when Puig is doing Puig things, the Dodgers are winning.
Puig has shown a lot of growth as a player this season. He looks comfortable in the box, and he isn’t swinging at bad pitches trying to force something to happen. In the ten games the Dodgers have won, Puig has 11 hits, four home runs, 11 RBI’s, and is managing a .324/.419/.706 slash line while only hitting into one double play. However, in the 11 games they’ve lost, Puig has seven hits (.179 average), no home runs, and one RBI.
Of course, we can’t say Puig is the answer for the Dodgers’ wins, but when he produces, the Dodgers seem to do pretty well. Puig has started in all 21 games this season which is what he needs in order to stay consistent.
A big thing for Puig that a lot of us are happy about is he is keeping the strikeouts down. Sure it’s only the beginning of the season, but he’s only struck out 13 times in 73 ABs. To put that into perspective, Seager leads the team in strikeouts with 19, in 70 ABs.
Puig’s slugging percentage is also at the best it’s been since 2014, at .452. His on-base percentage is also almost a full .100 points above his average, hanging around .345.
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Puig is showing his true potential this season by running out every ball and hustling on every play. He has also been making consistent solid contact with the ball, hitting a few that even looked like home runs off the bat but missed going over by only a few feet.
This Puig is fun to watch, and this Puig can give the Dodgers a real chance at being a contender for the World Series at the end of the season.
The combination of the contact he has been making and his low BABIP of .241 (.300 is considered average), you can expect him to explode again anytime soon.
One thing that is a downfall for Puig and even the rest of the team is his lack of production against lefties. With Puig being a big right-handed batter, there was a lot of hope he would be able to smash left-handed pitching, but it has not been the case yet. This season he is only hitting .133, while back in 2013 he hit .340 against southpaws. His numbers against righties are definitely something to be happy about though.
In 43 at-bats versus righties this season, Puig has a .326/.423/.674 slash line with four home runs and 11 RBI. The problem is the Dodgers don’t need help against righties like they do with lefties.
The outfielder has also done much better further down in the lineup compared to when he is closer to the top. He’s hit three of his four long balls batting 7th or 8th in the lineup, while racking up seven RBI. When he’s hitting in the 3rd or 5th hole he is 0 for 19 and has struck out five times. Some of this could do with the possibility of Puig being anxious by hitting higher in the lineup, while hitting in the bottom-half of the lineup allows him to play an inning or two in the field before taking his first at-bat and doesn’t put too much pressure on him.
Next: Why We Shouldn't Panic Just Yet
With the season just getting started, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a player’s season. But considering Puig’s last few seasons, it is certainly nice to see him start off so well. If he can find a way to hit left-handed pitching, he would be an all-around threat. Puig has so much potential to be even better than what he did when he was called up in 2013, so if we can see that Puig again, we may be looking at our right fielder for many years to come.