Last year the Los Angeles Dodgers invested $42 million over seven years into Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig. Puig was raw but considered to be an interesting talent so the Dodgers took a chance on the 22-year-old.
In his first minor league season, Puig only played in 23 games and had to undergo surgery to correct a staph infection in his elbow that kept him out of the Arizona Fall League. However, he did recover in time to participate in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
For the most part Puig was impressive, hitting .354/.442/.634 in the minors last season with 5 home runs and 15 RBI in 8 at bats. He was a bit advanced for Single-A given his experience playing in Cuba and on the Cuban National Team. However, it was still an encouraging showing for his first taste of professional baseball.
This season the Dodgers will probably start Puig out in Double-A and challenge him a little more as they become more aggressive in his development. While it is conceivable that if he performs well Puig could move up to Triple-A I just don’t see the Dodgers being that aggressive yet unless Puig is really knocking the cover off the ball.
Puig might run into some difficulty at Double-A as he is still a very raw prospect. However, he does have a ton of natural ability and that should eventually overcome any problems that he encounters due to his lack of experience.
Puig’s power is developed from excellent bat speed and strength. However, his swing does need some work for his power to truly develop.
Ultimately, the Dodgers have a potential starting right fielder with a strong arm and some power. Most likely, Puig sticks in left field and stays there for a few years. I don’t see him developing into a superstar but an Alex Rios-type player, if he develops fully, isn’t out of the question and I think the Dodgers would take that.