5 Ways Yasiel Puig Can Win MVP in 2014
2014 MLB MVP: 5 Ways Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig Can Win
The Los Angeles Dodgers were either brilliant or lucked into the Cuban phenom that is Yasiel Puig. Either way, it is impossible to look back on the 2013 MLB season and say Puig was not one of the most electrifying and dynamic players in baseball.
After a standout rookie season in which Puig was very nearly both an All-Star and the NL Rookie of the Year, the Dodgers’ young stud will continue to grow and develop into an even better ball player. And that’s a scary thought considering all that he did last year. In just 104 regular season games, Puig batted an impressive .319, blasted 19 home runs, had 42 RBI and stole 11 bases. If Puig had gotten to play from the beginning of the season, it is not unreasonable to assume he could have finished with almost 30 home runs.
With an incredible arm, speed for days and a solid bat, Puig truly is one of the best young players in the game. He is a raw talent, but his potential is extraordinary. The upcoming winter offseason will allow him to focus, work on his game and become an even better player. As he grows and matures, the already stellar components of his play will only improve and his weak points will strengthen.
If Puig can take the great experience he got in 2013 and learn from the 100+ games he played in, he has a legitimate shot at being the 2014 NL MVP. For five specific ways Puig can achieve this difficult task, start the slideshow by clicking the “Next” button above.
Continued Plate Patience
One of Puig’s weaker points on the season was his walk to strike out ratio. With only 36 walks to his 97 strikeouts, the 22-year-old has a lot to learn about patience at the plate. Nevertheless, Puig’s second half of the season saw a striking increase in walks and a decrease in swings and misses. June and July saw Puig walking once every 4.25 strikeouts, but August and September were much better as Puig only had 1.9 strikeouts per walk. If he can continue this patience and work on his eye at the plate even more, he will be terrifyingly dangerous at the plate.
Awesome Defensive Plays
Puig’s ability to get to shallow flies, dive for balls in the gap and gun runners down with his cannon earned him a regular spot on the nightly highlight reel. If he can keep up this aggressive play and continue to wow onlookers on a regular basis, his name will easily come up as an MVP candidate.
Swing At The First Pitch
I know this kind of goes against what I said in the first point about having better patience at the plate, but the statistics just don’t lie in this case. If Puig sees a first pitch that is even remotely decent, he needs to go after it. In 2013, Puig’s first pitch batting average got to be so ridiculous that opposing pitchers ended up throwing him garbage on the first pitch just to avoid the embarrassment. Those who thought they could sneak a quick first strike past him got added to the list of battered pitchers who watched Puig hit .551 on first pitches. Pitchers often try to get ahead in the count early and if Puig can keep on feeding off of them on his favorite pitch, his numbers will continue to be MVP worthy.
Perform In Clutch Moments
From walk-off hits to grand slams to timely stolen bases, Puig certainly aided the Dodgers in 2013 at the right times. If he can keep these clutch performances up in 2014, his MVP candidacy will be greatly aided.
Good Press Coverage
Nothing hurts a player’s candidacy for a big award more than a piece of bad press. Puig has had his struggles with press in the past, but has since begun building his image as a good guy. The Cuban has been spotted going out into the community and doing good things like visiting children in the hospital with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol as well as the play date he arranged at Dodgers stadium with the kids in the above photo. Continued good press like this will help boost Puig’s image among media and fans, giving him a better shot at being liked enough to get MVP support.
That does it for the slideshow. Please comment below with why you think Puig can be the 2013 NL MVP or why not.