Desperate times called for desperate measures on Sunday afternoon, as the Los Angeles Dodgers called up top prospect Yasiel Puig moments after they lost to the Colorado Rockies. The 22-year-old will join the club on Monday and will make his much-anticipated debut against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
It’s an interesting roster move for the Dodgers, who have been on the record saying they did not want to rush the talented outfielder to the big leagues. After a phenomenal Spring Training when he hit .517 with three home runs, the Dodgers brass said they had no intention of putting him on the active major league roster.
They wanted him to develop in the minors. They wanted him to work on his plate discipline, his defense and his mental approach to the game.
But the Dodgers are in a crisis. And the man they call the Cuban Missile is now expected to be the savior for a team who has been crushed by injuries and hammered by opposing teams. It will be a tough task for Puig to bail out the last-place Dodgers (23-32). His expectations are huge, and Dodgers fans will expect a home run every night.
He has the ability to do so. Scouts have compared the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder to Bo Jackson. Dodger fans hope he turns out to be Jackson, or even Mike Trout, who sparked the Los Angeles Angels last season when he was called up in May.
Puig, who has hit .313 with eight home runs and 13 stolen bases this season in the minors, will most likely play right field with the Dodgers, and Andre Ethier will play center field while star Matt Kemp rests a sprained hamstring on the 15-day disabled list.
Puig’s promotion also has a lot to do with left fielder Carl Crawford‘s recently injured hamstring. It is not said to be a serious injury, but he is expected to miss a few days with a cramp.
Can Puig be a spark the Dodgers need? It should be an interesting week worth watching.