To Puig Or Not to Puig (Plus Friday Lineups)

yasiel_puig_firstbase_springSo there’s this, from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan…

The Legend of Yasiel Puig is greater than The Truth of Yasiel Puig. The Legend plays like Bo Jackson. The Truth simply looks like Bo, a diesel 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. The Legend hits .521 in spring training. The Truth understands spring-training statistics might as well be tabulated by Arthur Andersen. The Legend is an invincible athlete. The Truth lost three straight games of ping-pong Thursday to Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is the anti-athlete.

And then there’s this, from ESPN’s Keith Law…

Also: When you hear a player compared to Bo Jackson, just stop listening.

In this case, both are correct. Passan is right to be impressed — Puig is blowing the doors off of camp, wowing everyone and exceeding the wildest expectations that could have been set upon him. Again, he’s hitting .521/.500/.854 this spring, and even for a guy who puts absolutely zero relevance on spring stats, that’s absurd. It’s beyond absurd, it’s unlike anything we’ve really ever seen before and it’s exciting in a way that spring training rarely is.

But Law’s right, too. Puig’s not Bo Jackson. It’s ridiculous to be making that comparison — Jackson was a once-in-a-lifetime athletic specimen who nearly everyone on the planet drooled over. Puig’s a beyond-raw talent with limited athletic experience who has the potential to be great, but is probably not a true “five-tool player”. As much fun as this has been, we should all know by now not to act as though a few weeks of spring ball suddenly makes a player considerably different than he was before, and Puig is still an incredibly talented player with little pro experience who has significant concerns over plate discipline.

So what’s the right answer here? As far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t changed. It does no damage to start Puig in the minors, and in fact it only helps. It allows him to prove himself against pitchers who are actually trying to get him out — and while I appreciate Passan’s contention that Puig has done well against actual big league pitchers, simply saying “Mat Latos” was on the mound doesn’t say whether Latos was just working on his fastball that day — and it helps the Dodgers down the road with service time implications. Perhaps most importantly, as we’ve discussed before, it allows them to get a look at Carl Crawford and see what they have there. You don’t bring Puig up unless you’re prepared to play him every day, and you can’t do that and still see what Crawford can give.

Reds
Dodgers
CF
Heisey
DH
Crawford
2B
Phillips
SS
Gordon
1B
Votto
RF
Hairston
LF
Ludwick
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Bruce
3B
Cruz
3B
Frazier
CF
Puig
SS
Cozart
RF
Herrera
C
Mesoraco
C
A.Ellis
P
Leake
2B
Amezaga

Puig starts today in center field against Mike Leake and the Reds, hitting sixth, but there’s a lot happening in this game. Crawford is back atop the lineup at designated hitter — he is expected to play left field tomorrow, per the team. It’ll be the first time he plays the field as a Dodger.

This is also likely to be Clayton Kershaw‘s final full start in Arizona, and you’ll probably note that Dee Gordon is playing shortstop, with Luis Cruz pushed back to third. That’s not all that surprising since Gordon has missed the last few days with an ankle injury and they’ll obviously want to get him back on the field, though it’s worth noting that the Hanley Ramirez replacement plan hasn’t been fully finalized yet.

Today’s game is available on dodgers.com, the final of the eight scheduled webcasts for the spring.

1093 comments
EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

1. Joey Votto (Cin - 1B)

2. Stephen Strasburg (Was - SP) 
3. Ian Kinsler (Tex - 2B) 
4. Starlin Castro (ChC - SS) 
5. Pablo Sandoval (SF - 3B) 
6. Jimmy Rollins (Phi - SS) 
7. Elvis Andrus (Tex - SS) 
8. Yadier Molina (StL - C) 
9. Shane Victorino (Bos - OF) 
10. Melky Cabrera (Tor - OF) 
11. Dan Haren (Was - SP) 
12. Norichika Aoki (Mil - OF) 
13. Huston Street (SD - RP) 
14. Homer Bailey (Cin - SP) 
15. Rafael Betancourt (Col - RP) 
16. Chris Perez (Cle - RP) 
17. Bobby Parnell (NYM - RP) 
18. Steve Cishek (Mia - RP) 
19. Dan Uggla (Atl - 2B) 
20. Lorenzo Cain (KC - OF) 
21. Alexei Ramirez (CWS - SS) 
22. Cody Ross (Ari - OF) 
23. Garrett Jones (Pit - 1B,OF) 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

So Doc Halladay is breaking down huh?

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

This is great. In a mock draft I am drafting nothing but scrubs. Can't wait!

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

Pal who's at ST: I'm watching Reds infield drills and every time Broxton was involved, Brandon Phillips would yell "Big body! Big body! That's a lot of material."

baeksu
baeksu

So is today's spring game not televised or done through dodgers.com?

JackedNate
JackedNate

Thanks for not inviting me to the league everybody, I will now have to relapse and drink all the Jamison on the peninsula. Thanks a lot.

Murderers the lot of you

*VND*
*VND*

I was going to join Tony's draft but there was a lack of money pot. Really hard to get excited if there isnt the opportunity to take someone's money

baeksu
baeksu

@EephusBlue Pretty good haul.  Smart to buy the Andrus insurance with Rollins in there.  Aoki is a sleeper.  Just go ahead and drop Uggla now.


EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

That's what winning looks like

baeksu
baeksu

@EephusBlue That's awesome.  You're kind of like the guy at the blackjack table who says "Watch how fast I can lose all of this."

*VND*
*VND*

existence* existance? jesus back to bed for me

*VND*
*VND*

but afraid of the holes in the sides. sigh. so close to being perfect

baeksu
baeksu

@JackedNate There was a public invite for several days on the boards.  You snooze you lose.

*VND*
*VND*

@JackedNate it was an open invite! and by peninsula... you mean the bay area? you gonna come visit?

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@capnsparrow @EephusBlue Truth

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

@PWEEEEG Oh, those are nice! (And the holes are necessary when you're walking around in water, which is what Crocs are for. I don't get this thing where people were them as street shoes. They're too effing ugly for that.)

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@PWEEEEG put those on and hold yer foot closer to the key board so I can see how they look on you!

*VND*
*VND*

@capnsparrow @baeksu yay night game. because the Dodgers will ultimately always play when i cant watch them. awesome. I will check for PuigUpdates and be angry with you all

baeksu
baeksu

@darknesssss @PWEEEEG I like it with or without a pot.  I don't need to bet money on my softball games or pickup basketball games to have fun with them either.  ;)

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@capnsparrow @EephusBlue Yeah seriously tight? Ugh. I can't make the 5pm draft time so going with autodraft. Cant wait to field my shitty players. I did block any giants tho. Even Posey. I dont want to win enough to root for those fuckers

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

@capnsparrow @PWEEEEG @LA_Woman Yep, I wouldn't run in them in the city though -- never know what you might step on (glass, nails, etc.) I want them to wear around the house.

*VND*
*VND*

@capnsparrow @PWEEEEG @LA_Woman seems swampy feet would happen

*VND*
*VND*

@LA_Woman @PWEEEEG but so comfortable!! crocs are the unofficial shoe of surgeons. like no joke they all wear them

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

@PWEEEEG @LA_Woman Hmm... I would think hospital workers would wear something with better support. I sure would.

*VND*
*VND*

@LA_Woman @PWEEEEG hahaha everyone in the hospital wears them, too!!! this is more for work than the streets :)

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@PWEEEEG @capnsparrow @baeksu I'll be sure to say hiiiii while I'm TLRing it today =^.^=

*VND*
*VND*

@baeksu @darknesssss @PWEEEEG i dunno. you guys do internet better than i do. 

But money makes it worth the shit talk. 

otherwise its just shit talk.:P