Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Puig's first month by the numbers
By Micah Adams and Tom McKean
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Yasiel Puig's first month in the majors was historic, hitting .436 in June.
Wednesday marks the one-month anniversary of Yasiel Puig’s MLB debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His impact has been immediate: eight home runs and a .443 batting average in his first 27 games in the big leagues.
But Puig hasn’t just been piling up personal stats, he’s also been central in the Dodgers resurgence this season.
Entering June 3, the day Puig made his debut, the Dodgers sat in last place in the NL West at 23-32, 8.5 games out of the lead. Since then, the Dodgers are 16-11, which is the best mark in the division since that time. That stretch has trimmed six games off their deficit, and entering Wednesday, they sit just 2.5 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
But how do Puig's numbers measure up historically?
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no player to debut since 1900 has hit for a higher batting average in his first calendar month (minimum 60 at-bats) than Puig’s .436 mark in June.
The .436 mark is the highest batting average in any calendar month (minimum 100 AB) by a player 22 of younger since Jimmie Foxx hit .462 in May 1929.
The list of players under age 22 in the Live-Ball Era (since 1920) to hit at least .430 in a calendar month is an impressive list: Foxx, Puig, Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez and Joe DiMaggio.
Also according to Elias, the only player to debut since 1900 with more hits Puig in his first big-league calendar month was DiMaggio, who had 48 in May 1936.
However, don’t start engraving Puig's plaque for Cooperstown just yet. A .400 BA in your first calendar month doesn't ensure a Hall-of-Fame career in the majors. Barry Bonnell hit .400 in May 1977 and went on to have a 10-year Major League career, but never made an All-Star team.
PRECEDENCE FOR MAKING THE ALL-STAR GAME
Speaking of All-Star teams, there has been controversy on whether Puig is deserving of a spot in this year’s All-Star Game.
Puig has played in 27 major-league games, and the Dodgers have 12 more to play before the All-Star Break. Even if Puig plays in each of those, he’ll shatter the record for fewest games played by a batter prior to their first All-Star game appearance.
That record belongs to DiMaggio, who only played 57 games before being named an All Star in 1936.