Yasiel Puig has gotten off to as good of a start as virtually anyone in baseball history. The good news is that the party is not ending just yet.
In the first month of his career from June 3 when he was brought up to July 2, Puig's numbers were absolutely incredible. He had a .443 batting average with seven home runs and 21 runs scored and almost was selected to the All-Star game, which would have been an amazing feat in such a short period of time.
How good has his start been in a historical perspective? According to Fangraphs, he has been better than everyone ever to play the sport other than Babe Ruth and Ted Williams in park-adjusted offense relative to league average.
No matter what you think about sabermetrics, any list that has those two at the top and is followed by Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Barry Bonds and Mickey Mantle in order is a legitimate category. Puig has put himself in the conversation with all of these guys.
While this is an incredibly small sample size for the course of a career, it still shows how good he has been for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Unfortunately, that is where he started to slow down. From July 3 to July 21, Puig only had 12 hits in 54 at bats to total a .222 average with 19 strikeouts. He also had zero home runs and only two extra-base hits in that span.
All of a sudden, people seemed to be hopping off the bandwagon:
Puig strikes out on three bad pitches, continues to struggle.— Dodgers Reporter (@DodgersReporter) July 23, 2013
Big strikeout by Soriano of Puig, now 0-for-9 with 5 Ks in series. Bottom of the 9th now, 1-1 game. Rendon, Zimmerman, Harper up for #Nats.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) July 21, 2013
I'm unfortunately no longer looking forward to Yasiel Puig at bats. Struggle fest! Puig needs to make adjustments.— Ben Haber (@HaberBen) July 21, 2013
Everyone assumed that pitchers would eventually be able to catch up with Puig and that he would not be able to keep up his torrid pace. Unfortunately, it appeared as though this happened quicker than anticipated.
However, things have turned around in a hurry in the most recent series. The Dodgers traveled north of the border to face the Toronto Blue Jays, and the outfielder remembered how good he was in the process.
In three games, Puig went 6-for-13 while helping his team continue an impressive winning streak, as noted by SportsCenter:
Yasiel Puig homers as @Dodgers collect 10th straight road victory. It's the first time LA has done that since 1955 (!!).— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 25, 2013
He also reminded people that he can do this in the field:
In one series, the 22-year-old player reminded people about the great play to start his career and proved that he is not going away any time soon. This was hard to say a week ago.
How many wins will Dodgers have this season?
Every player in baseball will go through slumps throughout their career. The best players will keep the poor stretches short and get back to hitting well, and that is exactly what Puig has done this month. While some might have thought the honeymoon was over, it is just beginning.
With Matt Kemp returning to the disabled list, it becomes more important for the rookie to carry the team with his production. He has done a great job of that so far as the Dodgers are currently in first place in the NL West.
This is quite a feat considering the squad was 8.5 games back the day before Puig was brought up to the majors.
It is clear that Los Angeles continues to be on its way up, and the young player will keep playing well until he has his team in the postseason.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of ESPN.
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