Can Yasiel Puig Keep Mashing in the Cleanup Role for Dodgers?

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIJune 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 09:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first on his single during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on June 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Yasiel Puig has truly been a man among boys in his first week in Major League Baseball.

Just one week into his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Puig is batting .464 with four home runs and 10 RBI. It was an effort that earned him NL Player of the Week honors.

Even more amazing is the fact that Puig has done it from the leadoff spot in the order.

However, one has to wonder if he can keep it up, especially when he heads to the middle of the order.

Will he get pitched around more? See fewer fastballs? Is there more pressure on him now?

That all depends on a few factors.


Adrian Gonzalez

Gonzalez is probably the biggest factor to what kind of success Puig can have. He's been the only Dodger that has done damage this year, batting .317 with eight home runs and 43 RBI. The rest of the order has been mediocre at best.

A-Gon can affect Puig by simply getting on base in front of him.

By doing that, it gives Puig a good opportunity to do some damage.

It's also a good thing Gonzalez rarely hits a triple. With a runner on third base and at least one out, you can almost guarantee Puig would be walked.

As Puig adjusts to MLB pitching, Gonzalez needs to continue to mentor him at the plate in the same way David Ortiz took Jackie Bradley Jr. under his wing at the beginning of the season. 


Clear the Pitcher

There's an old term in baseball called "clear the pitcher." That term means that the bottom of the order does what it needs to do with two outs to get the pitcher up before the end of the inning.

This brings the top of the order up the next inning, taking away an almost automatic out coming from the No. 9 spot.

This is especially important for the Dodgers. 

If one runner gets on base the next inning, you almost guarantee Puig will come up with a chance to knock in a run.

With Puig in the cleanup spot, the worst thing you can do is have him lead off an inning because there won't be anyone for him to drive in. 



So, can Puig have the same success he's had in the leadoff spot batting in the middle of the order?

Absolutely. The kid is a special talent and it's easy to see why the Dodgers wanted him.

However, the one thing he must remember is that pitchers will eventually adjust to his hitting.

In turn, he's going to have to make adjustments as well. If he fails to do so, then he'll turn into another Jeff Francoeur.