Yasiel Puig’s first full season with the Los Angeles Dodgers provided plenty of highlights, but also reminders of the learning curve that lies ahead for the outfielder.
Puig hit his stride at the plate during the month of May, batting .398 with 25 RBIs and also showing significant improvement in discipline and patience as he drew 17 walks, which were the most for any calendar month in 2014.
However, the end of the season wasn’t kind to Puig as he never quite broke free of his slump that carried into the postseason. In an interview with Alanna Rizzo of Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA, Puig identified what he wants to improve on for next season:
I want to get better offensively, I want to get better defensively. But I also want to get better as far as running the bases. I’m going to work with Davey Lopes and make sure I can try to steal more bases. there are certain things that I do on the field that may seem disrespectful to other teams.”
Improvement on the basepaths is an area manager Don Mattingly has also said he’d like to see Puig improve in. Despite his speed, Puig finished the year with 11 stolen bases and was caught stealing seven times.
The numbers are nearly identical to Puig’s success on the bases in 2013 when he stole 11 and was caught stealing on eight attempts. While, Puig didn’t necessarily improve or regress in stealing bases, he struggled to get back and was picked off multiple times.
It led to Puig working with first base coach Davey Lopes in August, and there was a noticeable difference as the outfielder was more willing to dive back to first base. As for defensively, Puig didn’t have many lapses in the outfield aside from his occasional tendency to overthrow cutoff men.
While that may have hurt the Dodgers in a specific game, Puig’s ability to play center field and play it effectively, allowed for Mattingly to settle on a consistent outfield alignment. Nonetheless, a Spring Training spent in center field should bode well for Puig