In 104 games plus 10 playoff games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig ignited the team while electrifying an entire city. At 30-42 and 9.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West, the Dodgers were staring at a lost season with a record-breaking Opening Day payroll.
Then, on June 3, Puig was called up due to injury in the outfield and the Dodgers finished the year 66-38 with him at the big league level. He changed the landscape of LA sports and was voted LA Sportsman of the Year by the Daily News for 2013. Talking to Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News, Puig was excited to hear about the award on Friday:
I’m happy and proud to hear about this, Puig said from Miami on Friday night. I am happy that the fans of L.A. have supported me all the time, and supported the team, and I hope they do the same next year. Thank you to the fans and I will do the best I can for all of them next season.
Of course, Puig was arrested early yesterday morning for reckless driving in Florida, but was deserving of the award nonetheless. Clayton Kershaw was also on the ballot along with Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.
Since 2005, Puig is now the third member of the Dodger organization to win the award as The Guggenheim Group won the honor last year while GM Ned Colletti was given the title in 2006. With him leading the charge, the Dodgers won 92 games, won their division by the widest margin and his at-bats became must-see events.
For the three months he was in the big leagues, the 23-year-old outfielder hit .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI, but his over throws and base running mistakes were what caught national attention most of the time. Still, Puig has such a high ceiling and should only improve as the Dodgers are counting him in 2014.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Chris Perez agreed to a one-year deal