Yasiel Puig Turning Heads In Camp, But Perspective Must Be Kept

yasiel_puig_firstbase_springA week into camp, one of the more encouraging signs for the Dodgers is how great Yasiel Puig has looked. In what’s really been the first extended look at him for most of us, we’ve seen him display the raw tools that so enticed the Dodgers last summer — an impressive physique, several hard-hit balls at the plate, and a good throwing arm. He’s looked so good, in fact, that the ongoing concern over Carl Crawford‘s health plus the fact that Puig already owns a 40-man roster spot has many fans clamoring for him to make the Opening Day roster.

It won’t happen, of course, nor should it. While his .389 spring batting average seems impressive, I should hardly need to caution you about putting emphasis on 18 spring at-bats — lest you forget, Brian Barden is hitting .538/.600/.615 this spring, and he washed out of the Japanese minor leagues last year — and it actually comes with a .368 OBP. I’d point out that this is what happens when you’re a free swinger who hasn’t walked once yet, except that would be placing actual meaning on spring training stats, which we’re absolutely not going to be doing on March 3rd.

There’s a nearly endless array of reasons for not trying to put Puig on the Opening Day roster, of course. There’s his complete inexperience, since he got only 95 plate appearances in the minors last season after missing more than a year of play — an issue which was compounded when he missed the Arizona Fall League due to an elbow infection. There’s the fact that nice stats aside, pitchers are clearly working on their own game at this point in camp rather than working on any plan to get hitters out, as Zack Greinke made clear after getting hit hard by San Diego on Friday. There’s also the simple fact that the Dodgers have so much tied up in Crawford that when he’s ready, he has to play every day to see what he has left, and putting Puig in a situation where he’s playing part time just makes no sense right now.

I think we all agree with that, so why are we talking about it now? Because depending on which media member you believe, one Don Mattingly interview can mean two very different things.

Ken Gurnick, Dodgers.com:

“The guy looks good right now,” said Mattingly. “He comes with high expectations. He made a good decision today stopping at second base [instead of trying for a triple], compared to the other day when he got thrown out tagging to second. We’ll continue doing what we’ve been doing, getting a look at things like that.”

But Mattingly countered the suggestion that Puig might stick with the big league club if Crawford isn’t active on Opening Day.

“Then you have the best chance of somebody going in the wrong direction,”Mattingly said. “You can get yourself in trouble. He’s still raw. You don’t want to get a guy beat up. Maybe he doesn’t struggle, but that’s not usually the case. We don’t have to make a decision right now.”

Mark Saxon, ESPN:

For the first time all spring, Mattingly admitted there is a sliver of hope for top outfield prospect Yasiel Puig to open the season with the Dodgers, assuming Carl Crawford begins the season on the disabled list.

Puig, who finished last season at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, doubled off Oliver Perez and is 7-for-18 (.389) with three doubles. His physique — 6-foot-3, 245 pounds — and surprising speed have been the buzz of camp so far.

“Obviously, if he continues doing what he’s doing, you’ve got to look at things like that, but honestly, there’s a really good chance of sending somebody in the wrong direction,” Mattingly said.

It’s not going to happen, and it shouldn’t happen. Between Puig’s inexperience and the presence of Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston, & Alex Castellanos to spot in left field for a few weeks if needed, there’s no need to rush Puig ahead of schedule — no matter how good he looks right now.

******

Indians
Dodgers
CF
Bourn
RF
Schumaker
RF
Carrera
2B
M.Ellis
DH
Giambi
DH
Kemp
C
Gomes
1B
Gonzalez
1B
McDade
RF
Hairston
2B
Phelps
3B
Cruz
SS
Diaz
C
A.Ellis
LF
Fedroff
SS
Punto
3B
Hernandez
CF
Amezaga

Puig is the only Dodger to play in every spring game so far, but he’s not in today’s lineup against Cleveland and isn’t expected to enter as a reserve. Other than missing Hanley Ramirez & Andre Ethier, the Dodgers have something close to their regular lineup in today, though it won’t last long; today’s game is the last for WBC participants Luis Cruz, Nick Punto, Adrian Gonzalez, & Javy Guerra (just added to Team Mexico) before they depart for at least a week or longer. Get ready for some fun lineups next week.

Josh Beckett gets the start against Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, to be followed by Matt Magill, Guerra, Mark Lowe, Peter Moylan, Josh Wall, Steve Ames, Juan Abreu, & Gregory Infante.

******

Good news for all of us — today’s game will be the first of eight that the Dodgers will broadcast on dodgers.com. In addition to the 14 remaining games that will be televised (if you have have MLB.tv, that is, since that includes games that are broadcast only by the other teams), that makes for 22 more games that can be accessed via video one way or another.

The full list here:

3/3 vs Indians (dodgers.com webcast)
3/5 @ Padres (FSSD – Padres)
3/6 vs Mexico (dodgers.com webcast)
3/7 vs Rangers (FOX Prime Ticket)
3/8 vs Reds (dodgers.com webcast)
3/9 vs Mariners (dodgers.com webcast)
3/10 vs Rockies (ROOT — Rockies)
3/11 @ Brewers (FSWI — Brewers)
3/14 vs Cubs (dodgers.com webcast)
3/15 vs Mariners (dodgers.com webcast)
3/17 (ss) vs Brewers (KCAL)
3/17 (ss) @ Diamondbacks (FSA — D’backs)
3/18 vs Diamondbacks (FOX Prime Ticket)
3/19 vs Athletics (dodgers.com webcast)
3/22 vs Reds (dodgers.com webcast)
3/23 vs White Sox (KCAL)
3/24 vs Athletics (CSNCA — A’s)
3/25 @ Royals (FSKC — Royals)
3/26 vs Rockies (KCAL)
3/28 @ Angels (FOX Prime Ticket)
3/29 vs Angels (KCAL)
3/30 @ Angels (FSW – Angels)

995 comments
Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

Cutting off your race to 1,000 comments with a NEW POST

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

well i'm over my hangover. meet me at the pho restaurant in 5. Or back here in about 30 minutes.

Jobu
Jobu

Puig! Puig! Puig! Mike is right that Yasil won't be on the Opening Day roster, but I think it is pretty certain he will be on the expanded roster in September.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

http://goo.gl/dqeJs "just ask a Yankee fan" 

 

q: "whats it like having a lot of money, Yankee fan?"

 

a: "The playoffs. Yearly"

The Monocle
The Monocle

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Pie Fucker
Pie Fucker

Josh Beckett's resume makes Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly think about Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

 

"I've told everybody," Mattingly said. "He was Clayton. He was Greinke."

 

 

 

Was Beckett injured at some point?  He's only 32.  I'd prefer Clayton to be Clayton at 32 instead of Clayton to be Beckett.  How does that all work?

 

 

 

 

Jobu
Jobu

@The Monocle Elvis? Or Olt for Cap and/ or Harang and Zach Lee

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Catfishin it's funny cuz Noneck is FAT like cow.

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

 @The Monocle I already emailed her and sent $4000 to get her here. Sorry to steal your thunder....

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

PUIG.

 

 

 

IN ABQ.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @VND Eddie Oropesa is a great answerer/interperter for Puig! Good choice of a mentor!

The Monocle
The Monocle

 @MMKowsari  just don't get carried away and throw SVS in there too.  Remember, we have the upper hand right now.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @VND None of the Dodger folks say that. I think the writer got it wrong.

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

 @LA_Woman  Well with the money I sent as a deposit to this Nigerian Price, I'll be able to buy them all with the millions he promised me

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Disgruntled Goat @VND No man made force can contain him. He might hit one out of Dodger Stadium.