Today, Los Angeles Dodgers‘ outfielder Yasiel Puig turns 23. Now if Puig celebrates his birthday with the same enthusiasm and carefree attitude he plays with on the field it should be one heck of a celebration tonight for the young Cuban. Regardless of how Puig chooses to celebrate, his rookie season was a huge success, and he’ll be ready for 2014 which is looking even brighter for the 23 year old.
When Yasiel was called up last season the Dodgers were in a rough place at that point of the MLB season. As everyone is aware of, Puig lit a fire under Los Angeles and the team made a great run from worst to first. Puig only played in 104 games, but in every single one of them he tended to be the center of attention whether it was a huge home run, a clutch hit or the numerous times he struck out. Even if it was only talking about his good or bad fielding and base running, Puig was the main topic of discussion following a Dodgers’ game. That will likely not change in 2014.
Puig was so productive during his rookie season that even the slightest step back will open the door for debate and criticism about whether or not Yasiel is a fluke talent who can’t cut it at the major league level. Every prospect who suffers a setback in their second season or further down the line of their career has to deal with the same criticism and focus from the media.
I hate to burst the critics’ bubble, but my guess is Yasiel continues his push towards greatness and will have a solid sophomore season. When 2014 is done, Puig will have a batting average right around .290 with 25+ home runs and 100+ RBI. That sounds like a pretty good sophomore season to me. Today Yasiel can relax and celebrate his birthday, but soon after it will be time for Puig to get serious about the 2014 season. Puig will be ready and he will once again help the Dodgers be competitive. Happy Birthday Yasiel!
Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org