Yasiel Puig: 5 Reasons Star Should Have Won NL Rookie of the Year
Yasiel Puig Not Winning NL Rookie of the Year Is A Travesty
When Jose Fernandez was named the NL Rookie of the Year on Tuesday afternoon, a win was picked up for the traditional baseball minds, while a loss was incurred for the younger and more progressive fan base. This is not a knock on Fernandez -- who compiled a tremendous 12-6 record with a 2.19 ERA in 2013 -- but simply a statement that the best rookie in all of baseball plied his trade for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yes, the best rookie in all of the MLB was Yasiel Puig, the same guy that traditional baseball minds rallied against when he was in contention to make the NL All-Star team, not because he wasn't qualified, but because he was too inexperienced. Never mind the fact that there was not a better draw to baseball parks than the right fielder, and there likely has not been as epic of a talent to grace an outfield since Bo Jackson, but these minds felt that age and inexperience triumphed statistics and impact.
This same group of baseball minds surely felt that it was only right that writers, announcers and analysts took another stand against Puig by not awarding him the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Sure, not all voters went against him simply based on the youthful exuberance, exceptional talent and reckless style that rubbed some the wrong way, but it is difficult to not see a heavy correlation.
And while some will continue to accept this crusade against everything that makes baseball great, I simply cannot do the same. In taking this stand, I have compiled five reasons that Puig deserved to have won the NL Rookie of the Year for the 2013 season, and in turn will let the numbers do the talking against those writers and baseball fans who have doubted the right fielders accomplishments.
5.Impact on the Dodgers 2013 Season
While the NL Rookie of the Year Award is definitely not the NL MVP Award, it is virtually impossible to see the direct correlation between the arrival of Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers season taking off. Prior to the right fielder arriving on June 3, Los Angeles sat in last place in the NL West at 7.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. This poor start led many to speculate that Magic Johnson and company were ready to blow up their $200 million plus payroll, and that manager Don Mattingly was on the verge of being fired. All the team would do the rest of the way is compile a 66-38 record and finished 11 games above Arizona to win the division. Little viable reasoning could be made against Puig being the reason for this turnaround, as his enthusiasm and play lit the clubhouse and fire and made him arguably the most valuable player in all of baseball.
4.Nobody In Baseball Is More Exciting
As Yasiel Puig made a habit of lighting the baseball world on fire and had a huge impact on the Dodgers season turning around, he also developed a reputation as the most exciting baseball player in the world. Legendary announcer Vin Scully described him as the wild horse, with this nickname surely coming from his play that mirrored a horse running around with their heads cut off. The right fielder sometimes ran around in circles in the outfield, overthrew his cutoff man and even ran threw coaches signals to stop on the base paths. On the flip side of these bad things came the mammoth home runs, diving catches, gunning down of base runners and epic hustle that made him literally difficult to hate. Fans all around baseball picked up on this phenomenon, and while captivation of fans should not solely win one an award, it certainly should help. After all. fans pay to be entertained, and whenever Puig was on the field. they certainly got their money's worth.
3. Playing Everyday Is Worth More Than Every Five Days
The argument that many people will make against Yasiel Puig is that he only played in 104 out of 162 games, largely due to the fact that he was only called up on June 3. This was the basis of the argument for those who did not want him to make the All-Star game, and if it was not viable then it certainly is not now. Not when Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez won the award despite only appearing in 28 games and 172 2/3 innings, not completing one game and being held out of games after Sept. 11. Meanwhile, Puig player throughout September, had a huge impact in the Dodgers making the playoffs and played in 666 more innings than Fernandez.
2.Puig Is A Stud Defensively
When it comes to the play of Yasiel Puig in the field, there is no doubting that he is the most talented defensive right fielder in baseball today. He possesses an arm that mirrors a cannon, is amongst the fastest players in all of baseball and is both wiling and able to run through walls in order to make incredible catches. While this only translated into a 0.6 dWAR and eight assists in 2013, it can certainly be stated that the numbers are telling a lie in this story. The right fielder is worth much more than that in the outfield, and in terms of rookies there is no one in his stratosphere defensively.
1.No Rookie Was Near His Level Offensively
If Yasiel Puig was on another stratosphere defensively from any other rookies in 2013, there can certainly be no words to describe the different level he sits at offensively. In fact, his statistical card ranks amongst the best in all baseball, with his .398 wOBA, 160 wRC+, .319 average and .391 OBP all ranking in the top 12 of all hitters this season. As these numbers indicate, Puig strikes fear into an opposing pitcher like few alive today, and he really had an even bigger impact then these offensive numbers indicate. Simply put, no rookie could even dream of approaching his talent in output at the plate in 2013, and in fact, no rookie was better at any position on the diamond.