- Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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I'm still trying to figure out how Yasiel Puig lasted until the fifth pick in our Franchise Player Draft. Unless we're now deducting points for speeding tickets, the lowest he should have gone, in a sane world, was second.
But that was out of my control. I picked 27th. What is within my control is being able to document that this man's first year in the big leagues was unlike pretty much anything we've witnessed in our lifetimes.
And I can actually prove that -- with Five Astounding Yasiel Puig Anniversary Facts:
• 1. This is Puig's stat line over the first calendar year (and 157 games) of his big league career:
.326/.405/.559/.964/30 HR/71 XBH/191 hits/16 SB
I've looked at every player who debuted in the past 50 years. Nobody matched or beat every number on that line over his first 157 games. Yep, I said nobody. Not Mike Trout or Albert Pujols or Ryan Braun or Miguel Cabrera. Nobody. So we'll have to break up this comparison into sections.
• 2. If we drop stolen bases from the criteria, the only hitter in the past half-century to match or better Puig was that Pujols guy. His first 157:
.333/.408/.621/1.029/37 HR/87 XBH/191 hits
So it's Puig and Albert. Pretty good group.
• 3. If we forget the whole slash-line concept, the only hitter in the past half-century who even piled up 30 homers, 71 extra-base hits and 16 steals in his first 157 games was Braun (with 47 HR, 94 XBH and 16 SB).
What about Trout, you ask? He had the homers (32) and the steals (48). But he didn't get to 71 extra-base hits (67). And oh by the way, Trout also didn't match any number on Puig's slash line (.309/.374/.535/.909).
• 4. OK, let's simplify this even further. You know how many other players in the history of baseball have even reached 191 hits and 30 homers (regardless of any other numbers) in their first calendar year in the big leagues? Only four, according to the Dodgers. Another stellar group:
Chuck Klein 1928-29 (232 H, 42 HR)
Hal Trosky 1933-34 (193 H, 33 HR)
Pujols 2001-02 (196 H, 37 HR)
Braun 2007-08 (204 H, 47 HR)
• 5. And, finally, let's just zap the whole concept of First Year in the Big Leagues. Whaddaya say? And let's compare Puig to everybody in baseball over the past calendar year. Here's what you'll find:
Precisely one other player in the entire sport has put up a .326/.405/.559/.964/30 HR line since Puig arrived in the big leagues. You've heard of him.
That would be Cabrera:
And Trout just misses -- at .324/.437/.559/.996/28 HR.
So how great has Yasiel Puig been? Oh, only historically great. And MVP great. And can't-take-your-eyes-off-him great.
In other words I just wish I'd have had that No. 2 pick!