Merriam-Webster defines all-star as “composed wholly or chiefly of stars or of outstanding performers or participants.” On July 16, the stars and outstanding performers from the 30 Major League Baseball teams will assemble at Citi Field in New York to showcase their talents in a battle for World Series home-field advantage.
Some believe this game should be simply for entertainment purposes: a showcase of the best talent in the league in a game that is meant to please the fans. Others are in favor of the added incentive of World Series home-field advantage as a way to keep the game competitive. Regardless of the purpose for the game, Yasiel Puig deserves to be on the National League roster.
There are a number of very valid arguments against this idea:
"He has only played in 20 games"..."He has only had 80 at-bats"..."Who knows if this hot streak will last?"..."There are players who have played all season long who he would be playing over."
None of these statements are wrong or out of line. The small sample size is certainly the main argument against Puig's participation in the Midsummer Classic. Even National League manager Bruce Bochy has been quoted as saying it would be a long shot. But when assembling a roster of the best players in the game, the hype surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers' young phenom can hardly be ignored.
Through 20 games, Puig has a white-hot .442 batting average and 1.229 OBP to go along with seven home runs and 14 RBI. His stellar start at the plate is not the only area of his game that is drawing attention. Puig also has shown that he has a cannon for an arm with three outfield assists and several strong throws that make runners think twice before trying to take an extra base. In a recent interview with SiriusXM, Bochy was asked about Puig being on the All-Star roster. He said, "The numbers would have to be so stupid that you say, ‘Ok I’ll consider it." I'm no expert, but Puig's numbers are quickly approaching "stupid".
The buzz surrounding Puig is reminiscent to that of the Washington Nationals' phenom, Bryce Harper, last year. Harper made the 2012 National League All-Star roster, albeit as an injury replacement, batting .282 with eight home runs and 25 RBI after 63 games. If he plays every game from now until the All-Star Game, Puig will have played in 39 games and could have better numbers than Harper did at this time last year.
If you argue that the All-Star Game is all about entertainment, what has been more entertaining over the last few weeks than Puig-mania? If you think it should be about competition and putting the team in the best position to win, it would be hard to deny that Puig can do just that. I’m not saying he should start, but shouldn't it at least be a consideration to have him on the team?
Perhaps it is too soon. Maybe it is a long shot and if he keeps this up he will certainly have plenty of other All-Star opportunities. It's just not as far-fetched as many may think to say Yasiel Puig deserves a spot on the National League roster. And would a spot in the Home Run Derby be asking too much?