Yasiel Puig is arguably baseball’s brightest and best young star as he’s helped the Dodgers ascend to the top of the NL West and become the favorites to win the World Series.
In a little over two months, Puig is hitting .358 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs and has made several key base running and defensive plays to help the Dodgers win 42 of their last 51 games.
However, as is the case with most young stars, Puig has shown the propensity to make mental lapses and Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com made a suggestion for manager Don Mattingly:
The Dodgers are in a precarious position here. Mattingly should bench Puig for a day – the clearest form of manager-player communication – to make certain he understands the need to be more aware of game circumstances. But that’s probably unrealistic because Puig helped the Dodgers go on an historic 42-8 run.
The notion that Puig should be benched for his mistakes is unrealistic as Morosi notes, but it’s clear people around the league are taking notice of his mental lapses.
Not only has Puig’s issues been on the base paths, but his inability to hit cut off men on plays where he has no chance of throwing out the runner has put the Dodgers in situations they don’t need to be in.
As is the case with young players, there’s a steep learning curve and Mattingly has said several times that the issues are being discussed. Being aggressive is one thing, being stupid is another.
There have been several instances where a team benched it’s young star, the Cubs and Starlin Castro comes to mind, but that was for a lack of hustle and inability to show he cared about getting better.
Puig has shown the ability to adjust as he’s laid off several off-speed pitches after he struck out on several out of the strike zone. To say that Puig won’t learn is absolute nonsense, but benching him so he understands the point isn’t a realistic option at this point.
In case you missed it, be sure to find out the latest on Matt Kemp’s ankle injury.