Fantasy Baseball: Should Yasiel Puig Be a First-Round Pick in 2014?

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Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig took the baseball world by storm upon being called up to the big leagues in early June, and fantasy baseball owners that were able to add him reaped the benefits as he hit .364 with 10 home runs and 23 RBI through the end of July. He has cooled off since then, but his overall numbers for the season are still very good, with a .348/.408/.558 slash-line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage), 14 home runs, 32 RBI, 56 runs scored and 10 stolen bases over 346 plate appearances through Friday’s action.

A couple of minor injuries had bothered Puig recently, which helps explain his drop in production over the last month or so. But should fantasy owners consider him among the top players for next season?

Puig’s production right out of the gate, particularly in June (.436, seven home runs, 16 RBI in 26 games), was not sustainable and a correction was surely coming. His peripheral numbers reflect some good fortune as well, with a very high BABIP (.423) despite hitting a lot of ground balls (around 50 percent) and an elevated home run/fly ball rate (over 20 percent).

Puig has 10 stolen bases for the Dodgers to this point in the season, but if he is not more successful (eight times caught stealing) his opportunities to run may dry up quickly over the rest of the season and in the future. Puig played just 63 minor league games before landing in Los Angeles, so not much can be taken from that small a sample size, but he did hit .328 with a .611 slugging percentage along with 21 stolen bases over 262 combined plate appearances.

Puig will definitely be a first-round pick in a lot of fantasy drafts next spring, and there aren’t many better options at any position right now in keeper leagues since he will turn 23 in December. But I also think he is certain to be overrated, and anyone that uses a top-five overall pick on him in single-season leagues will be left disappointed at this time next year.

Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.

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