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The 2018 Dodgers’ Player Review: Yasiel Puig

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Sep 19, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg (45) in the game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Yasiel Puig’s strong emergence in the summer of 2013, the young man out of Cuba has shown the baseball world exactly how much he loves the game of baseball. Puig plays with a ton of energy and has plenty of fun while doing so.

Love it or hate it, this type of “fun” baseball is here to stay. Other players around the league such as Javy Báez, Jesús Aguilar, and older guys like Adrian Beltre and Manny Ramirez embody that sense of fun baseball. I love the energy and passion these guys play with. It really makes you appreciate the game that much more.

Offense

Throughout his short time in the majors, Puig has been known to struggle when behind in the count. When a right-hander is on the mound, the pitcher tends to throw a breaking ball low and away, knowing Puig will chase.

As the chart below displays, the difference between the 0-2 count compared to either a 1-2 or 2-2 count is interesting. He actually struck out less when down no balls and two strikes.

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip
0-2 Count 29 33 33 5 10 2 0 2 8 1 0 0 14 .303 .303 .545 .848 18 .471
1-2 Count 56 65 65 9 11 1 0 3 5 3 0 0 26 .169 .169 .323 .492 21 .222
2-2 Count 48 55 55 7 6 1 0 2 4 1 0 0 26 .109 .109 .236 .345 13 .148
Full Count 60 71 49 8 9 0 0 2 6 2 0 22 21 .184 .437 .306 .743 15 .269
Two Strikes 109 224 202 29 36 4 0 9 23 7 0 22 87 .178 .259 .332 .591 67 .255

What else stood out the most was Puig’s BABIP, which was .471, when in the hole 0-2. Puig is very aggressive when his back is against the wall, knowing the man on the mound won’t give him much of anything to hit in that count.

With all of that strikeout information in mind, Puig stepped to the plate nearly 100 times less than last season. His strikeouts dropped from 100 in 2017, to 87 in 2018. I noticed a much more patient and disciplined Puig at the plate. He was able to draw 22 walks in 202 at-bats with an 0-2 count.

With Puig’s close companion and hitting coach Turner Ward taking the job with the Reds, a big piece of Puig will be missing in the 2019 season. Puig and Ward were very close to each other. Turner Ward played a big part in Puig’s success at the plate this season.

 

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2018 27 LAD NL 125 444 405 60 108 21 1 23 63 15 36 87 .267 .327 .494 .820

Puig’s slash line for 2018 is .267/.327/494. All numbers were similar to last season’s for the most part. Personally, I can live with an OPS of .820 along with a .267 BA. Anywhere around the .270 range for batting average is a successful season in my eyes. As we’ve all seen, Puig offers so much more than just his bat.

Yasiel owned a .925 OPS back in 2013 during his debut season with the Dodgers. Surpassing those rookie numbers may be unlikely, but if he can match his 2018 numbers, he will help the Dodgers.

Defense

Yasiel “Wild Horse” Puig has one of the most dangerous and exciting outfield arms in all of baseball. Run on Puig at your own risk.

Don’t worry, I have proof:

In 2017, Yasiel Puig appeared in 145 games and recorded only one error. This season, Puig played in just 118 games in the outfield — all in right field — and recorded eight errors. We almost never see Yasiel Puig make errors out there in right field, even when he is catching the ball almost effortlessly. We’ve all seen it, as Puig nonchalantly glides over to make the catch at the hip. He’s done it so many times I trust him to make that catch 100% of the time.

In years past, Yasiel Puig has been known to miss his cut-off man and fire a missile straight to the desired bag. Sometimes it pays off, but it’s also a big risk, knowing that a runner on base can advance on Puig’s mistake. Puig‘s 18 defensive runs saved above average (DRS) in 2017 was a career high for him. That number fell significantly this season, still sitting at solid 6 DRS this 2018 season. Puig’s most dangerous tool in his belt is without a doubt his throwing arm.

Base Base Base Base Base Base Base
Year Age Tm Lg Opp Held Held% Adv Kill Kill% Aother PA RHB% BIP% FBIP% Fld F2O%
2018 27 LAD NL 101 54 53.5% 43 4 4.0% 6 3956 63% 64% 35% 366 48%
6 Se 6 Se 6 Se 547 286 52.3% 244 17 3.1% 24 20785 63% 65% 35% 1997 53%
MLB MLB MLB 46.9% 2.2% 58% 67% 38% 50%

The table above displays Puig’s 2018 advanced stats in RF. Yasiel Puig’s hold percentage was 53.5% and is significantly higher than the MLB average of 46.9%. The hold percentage is “the percentage of plays from five previous situations where player did not advance”.

All baserunners are aware of Puig’s arm strength and ability to throw.

WAR Totals

Year G PA WAR oWAR dWAR
2018 125 444 2.7 2.1 0.1

Yasiel Puig registered 2.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2018, much lower than MLB leaders. Mookie Betts led all of baseball in 2018 with a 10.9 WAR, followed by Mike Trout at 10.2. Puig’s WAR dropped from 3.7 in 2017 to 2.7 in 2018, after injuries reducing him from 152 games, to 125.

Final Thoughts

Puig’s consistency in right field has played quite the impact on the Dodgers success over the years. There has been a revolving door in both left and center field in the last few years. Guys like Taylor, Hernandez, Bellinger, Joc and others have all swapped in and out of the left/center field roles.

We’ve all heard Puig’s name being thrown around as possible trade bait, including the most recent news that Puig was offered to D.C. for Bryce Harper. As a fan, I hope Puig is given the opportunity to stick around in this organization. He has cemented himself as an every day guy in right field, hoping to bring a World Championship back to Los Angeles.

Written by Tyler Hawk

Currently living in Central California. Life-long Dodgers and Chargers fan.

3 Comments

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  1. Tyler completely agree with you. Puig is maturing into a very good baseball player and an inexpensive one also as he has another year I believe on his contract. He is a 5 tool player and there are not very many of those around. I would certainly keep him unless offered an unreal trade for him.
    As Puig, Hopefully, continues to mature his numbers should continue to improve. We are all hoping the loss of Ward does is not a setback for Puig.
    Plus his enthusiasm is Fun to watch. I love the way he plays the game…Hope he stays a Dodger a long time.

    • Also agree I think he is one of the best all around dodgers. He has matured a great deal and I hope hei is given the chance to stay a dodger a long time. Big mistake if they trade him. He is my favorite player along with Kershaw. With regard to Verdugo ,nobody knows for sure if he is the real deal. I hop e the dodgers shore up their bullpen which is their biggest need. Happy and blessed thanksgiving to all. God bless.

  2. Trade him to the Reds where he will probably hit 35 home runs along with Alex Wood, Will Smith, and Yadier Alvarez for C Tucker Barnhart and Raisel Iglesias

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