Back in 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers called up Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, and he took baseball by storm. In fact, saying he took it by storm might not even do it complete justice. He, along with the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, became one of the immediate faces of the sport.
After putting up a .319/.391/.534 line with 19 home runs, 42 runs batted in, and 66 runs scored in 2013, Puig had a really good 2014, but then slumped majorly in 2015 due to hamstring injuries and showing up a little out of shape.
But, for the team to be successful in 2016, the Dodgers will need Puig to find that 2013 burst of magic again, or else 2016 could be a disappointing season all-around.
The Dodgers very much need him to get his groove back. Every starting player for the Dodgers this season comes with questions attached, though none may have the immediate ceiling offered by Puig.
The 25-year old Puig will need to find what made him great in 2013. He’s already off to a fantastic start by taking the offseason training regime seriously and getting into crazy shape, but it doesn’t mean anything unless he’s able to produce at the plate and in the field.
Last season, Puig produced 1.5 Wins Above Replacement in 311 plate appearances. In 2013, he produced 4.1 in 432 plate appearances. 2014 saw him have 640 plate appearances and a 5.3 WAR. If he can just approach a 5 WAR pace again, he will have easily done a great job.
Puig is entering his athletic prime, so to speak, and the team is surely hoping to benefit from his newfound focus. Hopefully he gets closer to his 2013, or even 2014, level of play. If not, and if the team gets 2015 all over again, then disaster could be written in the stars.
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