Coming into the 2013 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were counting on rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu to help solidify the rotation as they signed him to a six-year $36 million contract last winter.
What the Dodgers didn’t know was that phenom Yasiel Puig would be needed in 2013 and his play on the field would lead to one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history. Arguably the best rookie class the Dodgers have had, Puig and Ryu should both be in the top-3 of the Rookie of the Year voting as Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez is the favorite to win the award.
This morning, Ryu and Puig were both honored for their success as they were named to the Baseball America All-Rookie First Team as they joined such rookies as Wil Myers, Matt Adams and others.
In 2013, Puig hit .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI and Matt Eddy of Baseball America recognized his importance to the Dodgers success this past season:
His arrival in Los Angeles on June 3 also coincided with returns to form by Zack Greinke and Hanley Ramirez, leading the Dodgers to a 69-38 (.645) record the rest of the way.
Always controversial, Puig was a must-see in 2013 as people would drop what they were doing in order to see an at-bat from him. Like any rookie, Puig did have his ups and downs, but without him, the Dodgers likely don’t make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, not much was known about Ryu, but he proved to be incredibly important with the injuries to Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett early in the season. Ryu posted a 14-8 record with a 3.00 ERA and was applauded for his consistency by Baseball America:
While he didn’t provide the jaw-dropping highs of the other pitchers here—or the impact of Myers or teammate Puig—he did deliver the most innings by a rookie (192) while not hurting himself with walks, home runs or stolen bases.
The Dodgers dipped their foot in the international pool again in signing Alexander Guerrero to a four-year contract as Puig and Ryu were integral to the Dodgers 2013 success.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!