In just 16 games, Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig has captivated the imagination and attention of the baseball world. He's been called a five-tool talent by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The highlights and statistics he's generated in a short time support that concept.
While major league pitchers will be sure to make adjustments to limit some of Puig's effectiveness, his talent level and passion are so high, the possibility that Puig will be a flash in the pan is unlikely.
Of all the eye-popping numbers Puig has registered in his short time in the majors, the following are the most startling.
At Bats Per HR - 10.3
The 22-year-old Cuban sensation has six home runs in just 62 at bats. At 10.3 at bats per homer, Puig is hitting home runs at a pace just behind current major-league leader Chris "Crush" Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. Davis has slammed 26 home runs in just 264 at bats for an at-bats-per HR average of 10.2.
Obviously Davis' sustained success through 72 games is impressive, one has to wonder where Puig would be in the HR race had he been on the major league roster on opening day.
Total Bases - 49
Puig is averaging just over three total bases per game. If he maintained that pace—which is obviously quite unlikely—for a 162-game season he'd rack up a total of 496.
That total would shatter Babe Ruth's single-season record of 457 set in 1921. Puig hasn't hit a major slump, been injured, or simply cooled off at this point. But even with those realistic impediments, he'd have room to fall off and still find himself in rare air in this category.
Outfield Assists - 2
It may not seem like a big number, but if you've seen the throws Puig has made, you get the point. Not only does he have speed and a big glove—literally and figuratively speaking—he has a cannon for an arm.
Over 162 games, Puig would be on pace for 20 assists. He'd never get that many because runners and base coaches would simply stop testing him, but the skill is amazing. Check out Puig doubling up San the Diego Padres Chris Denorfia in the former's major-league debut.
Walks - 1
To say Puig is a free swinger is like saying Jose Valverde is a little superstitious. In 65 plate appearances, Puig has taken only one walk. To further drive the point home, that free pass was issued intentionally. The Braves' Jordan Walden put Puig on in the bottom of the eighth inning of a tie game on June 7.
Puig had launched his fourth home run of the year in his previous at bat off Paul Maholm. With a runner on third, two outs and Mark Ellis on deck, the D'Backs wanted no part of Puig.
This was all part of Puig's first seven days in the majors that landed him NL Player of the Week honors.
At some point, Puig will have to be a little more disciplined, but he has the rare ability to get hits on pitches that are out of the strike zone.
These numbers are all extraordinary, but something tells me we'll soon expect nothing less from No. 66.
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