<
>

Why Yasiel Puig must be an All-Star

7/6/2013

If Bruce Bochy was so concerned about Yasiel Puig’s short service time when picking All-Star reserves, I wonder whether he looked at these raw numbers:

In 30 games, Puig has six more home runs, one more RBI and just 11 fewer runs scored than Marco Scutaro, who is -- somehow -- an All-Star. So, in 42 percent of the games Scutaro has played in, Puig has done about as much to help his team score as Scutaro has while playing 32 more games than the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie.

Oh, and by the way, Puig has a 1.155 OPS. Scutaro’s is .776. His defensive impact is comparable, albeit in a smaller sample size. His baserunning is entirely different but probably equally valuable.

Yet that argument probably says less about Puig’s omission and more about Scutaro’s inclusion. Managers have been stuffing All-Star teams with their own guys for as long as the game has been around, so it’s really not much to get worked up over.

I actually thought Bochy had changed his mind earlier this week when he told reporters, “Part of it is, you understand, as a manager, the fans want to see a certain player.”

I still think Puig will be on the team as, I believe, he should be and, in a way, he’ll make it through the appropriate channels. The fans didn’t pick him. Bochy didn’t choose him, and the players didn’t, either. The fans didn’t have enough time, but the fact that his peers omitted him will tell you how this discussion is viewed within the game.

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon called the idea of Puig making the team an “absolute joke.”

So, now Dodgers fans have no one but themselves to blame if Puig isn’t on the team. He’s among five players in the Final Vote competition, with teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Washington’s Ian Desmond, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and San Francisco’s Hunter Pence.

If I’m Gonzalez, by the way, I keep my Legoland plans for All-Star week, because there’s no way he’s getting the vote over Puig, the most talked-about player in baseball. I doubt any of the other guys are, either, unless Gonzalez somehow splits Dodgers’ fans affinities and somebody else squeaks in.

Even if Puig somehow doesn’t win the Final Vote, in the next week or so you’ll be seeing a steady stream of players backing out over nagging aches and pains.

The Dodgers will be represented about as well as they should be, considering they floundered through April, May and most of June. If the New York Mets somehow don’t let Matt Harvey pitch, Clayton Kershaw stands an excellent chance of starting the game.

So, until July 16 rolls around and Puig still isn't on the team, I’ll save my righteous indignation.