In leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a second-straight National League West division title and finishing with MLB-best marks in multiple categories, there was little doubt as to whether or not Clayton Kershaw was the National League MVP.
By most accounts, Kershaw was also the Dodgers’ MVP, regularly answering the bell every fifth day and going beyond expectations, which by season’s end were astronomical. Kershaw’s importance to the Dodgers isn’t to undermine the other players on the team and he was sure to thank them in his acceptance speech for the MVP and Cy Young Awards.
Included in that was Yasiel Puig, who the Dodger ace called the ‘most amazing talent’ he’s ever seen. Now entering his third season with the Dodgers (second with the team on Opening Day), Puig is expected to shoulder a heavier load.
With Puig’s talent not being questioned, Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire believes the outfielder is capable of winning multiple MVP Awards once he manages to become more consistent, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
If we can put a full season together and if that lull toward the end of the season is not there — he has a big September, big playoffs — there’s no question he’s going to have several MVPs.”
During his short time in the Majors thus far, Puig’s been instrumental to the Dodgers’ success. His arrival helped spark the 42-8 run during the summer of 2013 and last season his ability to adequately play center field allowed manager Don Mattingly to settle on an outfield alignment.
However, still a young player, Puig also had his share of struggles and found himself benched for the decided Game 4 of the National League Division Series. While Puig’s string of strikeouts was the story of the postseason, his BABIP didn’t exactly suffer as Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider notes.
During Spring Training last year Puig told McGwire he wanted to win the MVP Award and recently stated he wants to win a Gold Glove. Expectations may be at the highest they’ve ever been for Puig as Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi sees Gold-Glove potential, and team president and CEO Stan Kasten is hoping for more progression moving forward.
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