Despite somewhat of a recent slump, Yasiel Puig leads the Los Angeles Dodgers in multiple offensive categories. However, one area Puig hasn’t yet excelled in is stealing bases.
The Dodgers center fielder has stolen seven bases and been caught stealing seven times. Along with his subpar results, Puig has also been picked off multiple times this season, including twice in the last 10 games he’s appeared in.
Most recently, Puig was picked off first base in Monday’s win and he was seen working with first base coach Davey Lopes prior to Tuesday’s game. Manager Don Mattingly said Lopes was likely working on Puig’s footwork, according to Joe Morgan of MLB.com:
It seems like he’s been picked [off] a couple of times lately, but there’s been numerous times where you feel like his footwork’s off getting back,” Mattingly said. “I’m assuming that’s what Davey’s working on. It’s things you work on.”
Mattingly also added he believes Puig will need to continue fine tuning his baserunning during the off-season:
I think there’s been numerous guys that had speed over the years that don’t really steal bases,” Mattingly said. “It’s just a matter of him putting some time on it. I think it’s an offseason thing really. I think it’s something, it’s kind of like you hear [NBA player] Steve Nash, and he’d talk about, ‘You add something to your game every year.’ And I think that’s part of what you do in the offseason. If you want to improve your game, that’s when you make small corrections.”
What Puig may have taken from the learning session with Lopes was not seen Tuesday as he finished the game 0-for-5 with one strikeout. One of Puig’s issues has been his reluctance to dive back to first base and that likely cost him on Monday when Freddie Freeman applied a tag to his groin area.
Along with learning from Lopes, who was a prolific base stealer in his playing days, Puig can also draw from Dee Gordon — the Major-League leader with 51 stolen bases. Puig last attempted to steal a base on June 15 and he was last successful on June 10.
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