On June 5, a Cuban defector by the name of Yasiel Puig vaulted himself into the MLB limelight by going 2-for-4 in his Dodgers debut. The following night, he went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and five RBIs. He batted .436 with an on-base percentage of .467 and a slugging percentage .713 throughout the month of June. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dominant player in the month of June.
His spectacular play was not limited to the plate, either. In one of his first starts in right field for the Dodgers, Puig caught a ball on the wall and then fired it to first to record a game-ending double play. Later in the month, Puig scooped a ball up in right field and fired it on a line, no hops, and right into the mitt of third baseman Juan Uribe, who tagged the runner. Some are calling that one of the best defensive plays of this MLB season.
If your a die-hard Dodgers fan or you just love the story that is Yasiel Puig, you might want to stop reading now. You’re about to be served a dose of reality.
While we all have had so much fun witnessing the rise of Puig, the sad thing is that won’t last much longer. Puig’s aggressiveness will likely become his downfall as pitchers will begin to figure out how to beat him. You can almost compare his flaws to that of Washington Nationals‘ Bryce Harper.
Harper came into MLB and immediately made an impact with his bat. However, pitchers began to realize that it wasn’t the fact that Harper was just that good, but he was just that aggressive. Pitchers then began to exploit Harpers aggressiveness by throwing him off-speed pitches and late-breaking pitches. Harper swung fast and hard and then the K’s began to stack up.
The same thing will eventually happen to Puig. Pitchers will figure out that the key to beating him at the plate is to exploit his eagerness and aggression. They’ll serve him up a pitch that he thinks he’ll be able to smash and then pull the string or break it down and out of the zone.
It was a fun month of June for the Dodgers and Puig. July has gotten off to just as good a start as he went 3-for-5 with a homer and double yesterday against the Colorado Rockies. One thing to note though, is that Puig did strike out twice yesterday. That could be a sign that pitchers are beginning to figure out how to channel his aggression in their favor.
Puig has established himself as an up-and-coming player in MLB. However, Los Angeles Angles‘ Mike Trout and Harper both burst onto the scene last season and eventually went through their growing pains. Puig isn’t going to fall off the face of MLB; he’ll merely be exploited for his weaknesses and he’ll improve.
The growing pains are going to come soon. It’ll be up to Puig and the Dodger organization to help him grow and mature as a baseball player. It’s a natural cycle that most big league ball players go through at the beginning of their careers.
Be excited and be ready to be patient, Dodger fans, you’ve got a good one playing for you out in right field.