In his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig has made strides at becoming a better all-around player than he was last year.
Though Puig helped spark the Dodgers and was an integral part of their 42-8 run and trip to the NLCS, he, like many other rookies have, showed a lack of discipline at the plate and out on the field. Puig’s inexperience and desire to contribute led to chasing pitches out of the zone and overthrowing cutoff men.
The right fielder has since limited those mistakes and emerged as the Dodgers’ primary threat in the lineup, evident by his supplanting Hanley Ramirez in the three-hole of the batting order. However, where Puig hasn’t been able to improve is on his base stealing.
He stole 11 bases last season and was caught eight times. Including Tuesday’s game, Puig has stolen seven bases and has been thrown out seven times. In assessing Puig’s basestealing ability, manager Don Mattingly said it’s something Puig has yet to master, via Michael Lananna of MLB.com:
I don’t think it’s an art that he’s really picked up yet.”
Mattingly furthered his comments by expressing his belief the team needs to become more involved in the decision for Puig to run:
I think that’s something that he’s capable of doing. Just with a higher success rate, I think that’s where we have to take over and take charge of when he runs.”
Mattingly also added Puig will likely improve with his basestealing just as he has in other facets of his game. Puig leads the Dodgers in batting average, hits, RBIs and on-base percentage and is second to Adrian Gonzalez in home runs.
Once Puig is able to become a more effective base stealer, he’ll be able to lay more claim to being a five-tool player.
Dodgers Update: Yasiel Puig’s Hitting Streak, Maturity And Bat Flips