Why Puig is deserving of All-Star bid
July, 10, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesYasiel Puig is hitting over .400 in his first 34 career games.The National League’s Final Vote has been widely discussed this week, as Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig is in the mix despite not debuting in the majors until June 3. Puig has some tough competition against Freddie Freeman, Ian Desmond, Hunter Pence and Adrian Gonzalez.
Despite his lack of experience this season, does Puig deserve to win the Final Vote?
Some may disagree with the idea of Puig in the All-Star Game, but the numbers would suggest he deserves it. Although Puig has played in only 34 games - all four other candidates have played in at least 77 games - he leads them all in Wins Above Replacement. Limited experience does not in and of itself mean a player isn't deserving - Puig has contributed as much or more in his admittedly brief tenure than the other candidates have with significantly more playing time.
Puig has 55 hits in his first 34 career games, the third-most in the Live Ball Era (since 1920). Only Joe DiMaggio (59 in 1936) and Roy Weatherly (59 in 1936) had more hits in their first 34 career games.
Puig is the first player to hit .400 or better through his first 130 career at-bats since Tony Oliva (.423 spanning games from 1962-64), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Dodgers have never had a single player with a .400 or higher batting average at the All-Star break (minimum 100 AB). The highest was .377 by Mike Piazza in 1995.
Freeman has three walk-off hits this season, tied with Alex Gordon for the most in either league.
Ten of Desmond’s 15 home runs this season have been to give his team the lead. Desmond’s 10 go-ahead homers are tied with Carlos Gonzalez for third-most in the National League, trailing only Paul Goldschmidt (13) and Pedro Alvarez (11).
This season, Pence leads the majors in stolen bases (13) without being caught and is one of four players with at least 13 home runs, 13 stolen bases and 22 doubles, joining Mike Trout, Carlos Gonzalez and Jason Kipnis.
Gonzalez is “Mr. Consistency.” Including this season, Gonzalez is one of six players with a batting average of at least .295 and OPS of at least .800 in each of the last four seasons, along with Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun and Adrian Beltre.