When the Los Angeles Dodgers called up Yasiel Puig this season, no one quite knew the impact he would have on the entire Dodgers team. Before he was called up, the Dodgers were in last place of the NL West. Puig’s intensity and outstanding play lit a fire under everyone in the Dodgers clubhouse and what a run the team went on. Before you knew it, they went from worst to first and never looked back. Towards the end of the season, though, Puig’s bat stopped being as dominant as it was when he first hit he big leagues, but he still finished with a .319 batting average while hitting 19 home runs with 42 RBI.
It’s not just Puig’s bat that helps the Dodgers, though. The way he plays the outfield with reckless abandonment shows just how much heart and determination he truly has. Sure, it leads to him being roughed up from time to time, but when the other other players see how hard he plays, it makes them want to play just as hard and in the long run that is nothing but a great thing for the Dodgers.
Puig had a very good spring training; he was good in AA ball and he was good in the regular season, but will the postseason be too big of a stage for the Cuban rookie? With Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in the same lineup, Puig doesn’t have to carry the offense, but he does need to do his part. Even if Puig’s bat doesn’t do what the Dodgers hope for, he will still show up every game to play and he will play hard. That may be just enough to light up the Dodgers team and get them past the Atlanta Braves and into the NLCS.