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Monday, April 14, 2014

Can Puig Do It Again?

Last year I argued that the Dodger's outfielder, Yasiel Puig, should be selected as the National League's MVP ("Puig for MVP"), which was very difficult to do for a Giants fan such as myself. Granted, the Pirates' Andrew McCutcheon probably deserved the award since he'd been passed over numerous times in previous years because the Pirates never made the playoffs (until last year, that is). Still, I don't think anybody meant more to a team than did Puig. Before he was called up, the Dodgers were an extremely talented team that consistently underachieved. But after he arrived, they became a completely different team. During the summer they were the best team in baseball. They cooled off before the playoffs, but it's no wonder that they are favorites to win it all this year.

But the question is: Can Puig do it again? Can he continue to transform the Dodgers into a powerhouse. I think he can, but to do so he's going to have to cut down on his strikeouts. Last year, he hit .316 with 122 hits and 97 strike outs in 382 at bats. That means he struck out over 25% of the time and that of the 285 times he put the ball into play, 43% of the time he reached base safely without the opposing team committing an error. I don't think that he (or anyone) can keep up that kind of pace over the long run. He will have to learn how to strike out less, or his lifetime stats will resemble those of Bobby Bonds rather than those of Barry Bonds.

P.S. How's Puig doing so far this year? Well, it's very early in the year, so we can't draw any conclusions from what's happened so far. Interestingly, though, he's striking out at about the same rate as last year (9 times in 38 at bats) but he's only hitting .237. In fact, he has just as many strikeouts as he has hits.

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