Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig bursted onto the scene last June and energized a last-place team with a .400 batting average in his first month in the majors.
After Puig took over the starting right field position, the Dodgers turned their season around and went on an incredible 42-8 run en route to a National League West title. The toughest part for the 23-year-old will be replicating his rookie numbers in his sophomore season.
Speaking to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today, Puig talked about some of adjustments he’s working on for the 2014 season:
I’m working on my hitting and on the things that may hurt me, with how smart the pitchers are, Puig said. I’m working on the pitches I missed last season and on the areas where I’m uncomfortable.
Puig finished the season hitting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI and was the runner-up in the NL Rookie of the Year vote. He wasn’t able to maintain the .400 batting average after pitchers found ways to get him out, but he worked at it and failed to hit any major slumps. The 23-year-old will have some trouble with numbers in one area: spring training. Last year, Puig hit .517 in 27 games last spring that led many to believe that he should begin the year in the big leagues; however, he started in Double-A before being promoted in the first week of June.
For a young player to have so much success right away, it’s rare he’s so aware of his flaws. Many players have a sophomore slump that usually comes from too much confidence because of their previous success. If Puig can work on his weaker areas and continue to improve in other areas, then the team should have no problem taking their second straight NL West title.
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