By the time the Los Angeles Dodgers resorted to calling up prodigious right fielder Yasiel Puig, they had one of Major League Baseball's most putrid offenses and were in desperate need of a spark. Since being recalled from Double-A Chattanooga, Puig has made a splash to say the least.
The 22-year-old has taken LA by storm, and has all the tools to continue being an immediate impact player who can lead a turnaround for the Dodgers' offense—and for the club as a whole.
ESPN's Baseball Tonight crew expressed their eagerness to see Puig play after a respectable major league debut, and he didn't disappoint.
Puig's true coming out party was on Tuesday evening at Dodger Stadium, where he swatted two home runs and drove in five to key LA to a 9-7 victory over NL West and in-state rival San Diego Padres.
Despite raising their record to just 25-32 in this recent two-game surge, there is at least renewed hope now that the Dodgers can dig their way out of the basement of the division. Sports Illustrated's Peter King highlighted the incredible numbers Puig has put up in his very brief stint thus far:
First 16 innings of Yasiel Puig's MLB career: 8 at-bats, 5 hits (2 HR), 5 RBI. @JonHeymanCBS flies into orbit.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) June 5, 2013
The jolt that Puig single-handedly provided to the lineup indicates that perhaps the Dodgers can dig their way out of the basement in the division, assuming Puig's teammates can step up beside him.
Facing a 5-2 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning on Tuesday, Puig came to the dish with two on, and jacked one out of the park to knot the game at five apiece. That one swing of the bat is what LA has been direly missing lately.
The very next inning, it was Puig who struck again. This time with one man aboard and two-out, he took a 1-0 offering from Padres pitcher Tyson Ross and drove it over the wall to the opposite field. That stretched the Dodgers' lead to three, giving them necessary, rare insurance and taking pressure off a pitching staff that has been under the gun.
To have that type of versatility in terms of power as a hitter at such a young age shows the level of talent that Puig boasts. At 6'3" and 245 pounds, it's almost effortless for him to knock it over the fence.
The Dodgers rank 27th in runs scored and 27th in home runs as a team out of 30 MLB clubs, but with the addition of Puig, that could change in a hurry.
Puig was in attack mode on Tuesday, facing only nine pitches in four at-bats. Scouting reports will inevitably lead to a drop from his torrid, 5-for-8 start with two homers, five RBI and another double.
How will Yasiel Puig fare in the 2013 season?
The problem for Don Mattingly's bunch hasn't been getting on base, but rather capitalizing in those scenarios. Per MLB.com, the Dodgers are ranked 26th with runners in scoring position, batting a measly .234 in such situations.
If LA is going to turn its season around—and there's plenty of time to do so—it will have to start in the batter's box. Puig is doing his part, and if he continues to blossom, there's no telling how good he can be.
It's up to Puig's teammates to capture this recent lightning in a bottle and run with it to get to the All-Star break with a respectable record.