Though it at times may seem Yasiel Puig has been in the Majors for years on end, this season is just his second in the Majors.
Puig’s time with the Los Angeles Dodgers has included plenty of highlights and teachable moments. One teaching moment came in the Dodgers’ loss on Monday when Puig lackadaisically caught a fly ball in deep center, which allowed Albert Pujols to tag and take second base.
Following the loss, Puig acknowledged he needs to be prepared on each play and manager Don Mattingly called it a lesson for the second-year player.
On Tuesday, Mattingly elaborated on the play and discussed some of the concerns he has with Puig, via Michael Lananna of MLB.com:
I don’t worry about dropping [the ball],” Mattingly said. “I just worry about the awareness more than anything else. If he comes up throwing, it just stops. It doesn’t happen.”
Mattingly then dissected Puig’s catching motion and what issues may arise:
Yasiel’s got a unique way of getting rid of the ball, if you watch how he goes from the one side to the other and the way he loads it. You worry sometimes if he gets low or off to the side. But as much as anything, I worry about the thought process of taking for granted that he’s not going to run, and that where we have to make sure he continues to learn.”
Puig wasn’t quite as lax during his opportunities to record put-outs in the Dodgers win on Tuesday. After initially resisting moving Puig to center, his transition from right field has been rather seamless; Monday’s mishap not withstanding.
Placing Puig in center has allowed the Dodgers to move Matt Kemp over to right field, where he’s admitted to feeling more comfortable. Entering Wednesday, Puig has played 11 games in center and recorded one error in 24 chances.
Yasiel Puig’s Top Five Plays