What to expect (and not to expect) from Yasiel Puig

June, 3, 2013
6/03/13
6:09
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have been discussing it for weeks, maybe months. They've known they were going to do it since Matt Kemp went on the disabled list Thursday in Anaheim, though manager Don Mattingly withheld the news from the media for a few days.

On Monday, highly-touted Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig made his major league debut, batting leadoff and playing right field.

Some things to keep in mind:

-- On one hand, Puig is a lot like Mike Trout. Mattingly came up with two physical comparisons for Puig, who is 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds: a young Bo Jackson and Trout.

"It's that NFL running back-type body," Mattingly said.

-- On the other hand, he's nothing like Mike Trout. Though Trout was three years younger than Puig when he made his major league debut, and two years younger when he stuck in the major leagues and nearly won the MVP award, he actually had 1,117 at-bats in the minor leagues. He was drafted in 2009. Puig has had 229 minor league at-bats and hasn't touched Triple-A.

Trout was known for his plate awareness and discipline when he was in high school. Puig is an extremely aggressive hitter who didn't walk all spring.

-- He wouldn't be here if the Dodgers weren't in desperate straits. Kemp is on the DL. Carl Crawford just joined him there Monday. One gets the impression there has been some push and pull between Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti ever since spring training, when Puig batted .517.

"This isn't the first time we've talked about him," Mattingly said.

-- His locker stall is next to Adrian Gonzalez's. This might be a coincidence. Mattingly says he has nothing to do with where players' lockers are.

But the Dodgers surely would like some of Gonzalez's calm professionalism to rub off on Puig, who has been disciplined for violating team rules and arrested for driving 47 mph over the posted speed limit just in the past two months.

Then again, they probably wouldn't mind if some of Puig's exuberance and energy rubbed off on his teammates.

-- And, finally, as everybody said Monday, he's fun to watch.

Here are complete lineups:

San Diego
1. Everth Cabrera SS
2. Alexi Amarista CF
3. Chase Headley 3B
4. Jedd Gyorko 2B
5. Chris Denorfia LF
6. Kyle Blanks 1B
7. Will Venable RF
8. Nick Hundley C
9. Eric Stults LHP

Dodgers
1. Yasiel Puig RF
2. Nick Punto 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Ramon Hernandez C
5. Scott Van Slyke LF
6. Andre Ethier CF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
8. Luis Cruz SS
9. Stephen Fife RHP

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 16 69 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239