According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, former Dodger great Maury Wills is going to work with Yasiel Puig during spring training this season.
This wasn’t Wills’ idea, either. As the story goes, Puig was the one who asked Wills. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a wonderful thing to hear. The 25-year old Cuban has had his issues in the past, but it certainly appears that he’s taking this very seriously now.
From the mouth of Wills:
“One thing I look forward to in spring training is working with Yasiel Puig,” Wills said. “He asked me to work with him. Whenever a player asks you, you know that you are more than halfway there. You got him. It’s when you have to go and pull him out of the clubhouse that it’s difficult.”
It didn’t stop there, either. Wills went on to talk about how much he hopes the Dodgers don’t trade the talented right fielder:
“Puig has a lot of talent. I just hope and pray that we don’t trade him. I feel I can turn him around, because of what I have been through.”
One aspect that Wills can most certainly help not just Puig, but the Dodgers organization as a whole is baserunning. Last season, the Dodgers finished 26th, according to FanGraphs, in that department. Any boost will not be an insignificant one.
Still, it’s wonderful to see a young player turn to a veteran of the game for guidance and help. This looks like a sign that Puig is on the track to righting the ship after a disastrous 2015 season that saw him miss time due to injury and vastly struggle all over the place when he did play.