By now you might have heard that the Dodgers spent $42 million on a player that they hardly scouted, taking a gamble by buying into the hype of Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig.
It’s only been eight games, but if what we are seeing is any indication of what could come in the following seasons, we are overjoyed, and will welcome Puig with open arms.
Yasiel, 21, was assigned to the Dodgers’ Arizona Rookie league team, and is off to a torrid start through eight games, hitting .407/.500/1.000 with four home runs, nine RBIs, and a stolen base in two tries.
Teams already are on notice about Puig, with one already electing to walk him intentionally. He has struck out six times in 27 at-bats, or once every 4.5 times to the plate, walking five times, impressive for a power hitter.
But let’s collect ourselves here, it is after all just the Arizona Rookie league.
He still has a long way to go, especially on defense, where he has committed two errors.
To put this into perspective, we compared other Dodger players in their rookie league debuts, but projected them at a full 56-game season.
Have a look:
Look at the irony in that table, with James Loney easily outshining Matt Kemp. Amazing how things changed as time progressed, and it’s James, not Matt, that is struggling to keep a spot on the Dodgers roster, while Kemp shines as one of baseball’s best players.
While much can happen between now and the moment Puig gets called up, he clearly is off to an unbelievable start. He is older than the majority of the competition, and has played professional baseball since a young age.
The guns on young Puig are impressive. His play has been compared to Sammy Sosa and Vladimir Guerrero, while his power has been said to be similar to that of Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper, impressive company all around.
In the end, the question remains: Can he keep it up? I don’t see the batting average remaining in the stratosphere as he climbs through the minor league system. That power looks like it is here to stay. I really hope he isn’t rushed, especially given that the Dodgers have the money to give another player two or three years to keep his seat warm. Let him mash, and gain confidence so that the day he does make his Major League debut, he is swatting balls left and right, adding to the fearsome duo of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and perhaps even Hanley Ramirez, and more.
It’s a scary thought, but one that will have to be put on hold, for now. He is still 21 years old, and will remain in the minors until further notice. Until then, let’s enjoy the beauty of a team with money that will plate big-name players until the farm is ready. Also, don’t forget about Corey Seager, he’s coming too.
Isn’t it great to be a Dodger fan?