When Yasiel Puig received the promotion from Double-A to the Majors last June, what to expect was largely unknown.
Sure, Puig hit over .400 with the Dodgers during Spring Training and was batting .313 with eight home runs, 37 RBIs and had a .982 OPS. By now, Puig’s accomplishments during his rookie season are well-documented.
Along with Hanley Ramirez, Puig helped turn around the Dodgers’ season. They shot up from worst to first, while ultimately running away with the division and clinching it by the widest margin in baseball.
In 104 games as a rookie, Puig finished with a .319 batting average, 19 home runs and 42 RBIs. Despite struggling with a .227 average in the NLCS, Puig posted a solid .333 batting average in his first season under the postseason lights. It was quite the successful season for the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up.
While Puig was unquestionably impressive as a rookie, he faced questions heading into 2014. Nearly at the halfway point of the season, Puig has improved on what plagued him last year — hitting cutoff men, plate discipline and better awareness on the basepaths — and become a force in the Dodger lineup.
Puig’s evolution has led to manager Don Mattingly referring to him as the best right fielder in the game and a shuffling of the lineup that’s resulted in Puig supplanting Ramirez in the No. 3 spot.
The move hasn’t necessarily been the most productive change for Puig however, as he’s batting .298 across 28 games when hitting third in the lineup and .361 when second in the order, which he’s done in 30 games.
Furthermore, after a hot month of May in which he hit .398, drove in 25 runs and tied a franchise record for most hits, Puig has cooled considerably in June.
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