I’ve long maintained that Puig could have a Clemente type of career and that view took a beating in 2015 and 2016 but Puig is still on pace for it to happen.
They are not physically alike but they are both from the islands off of Florida, right-handed hitting right fielders with arms of their generation. They both started out their careers either misunderstood or immature depending on your point of view.
Most baseball fans think of Clemente as the man who died a hero but in his early 20’s he was an enigmatic player who many felt wasn’t getting the most of his tools. It wasn’t until Roberto turned 28 that he put all of his tools together and became one of the best right fielders in baseball.
Unlike Clemente, Puig burst upon the major leagues with an outstanding debut season, while Clemente was a good right fielder but not a star his first years in the major leagues. The routes they took to their 27-year-old season were different but when you look at the aggregate this is what we have. Clemente leads in bWAR but he also had 1500 more plate appearances. Puig is killing him in OPS+ because Clemente didn’t have his first great season until he was 26. Clemente is going to have a down season at the age of 27 but from age 28 on he built his HOF case. At this point in their career arc, Puig is better than Clemente at just about everything except winning a gold glove.
Year Age PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards 2013 22 432 66 122 21 2 19 42 11 8 36 97 .319 .391 .534 .925 159 MVP-15RoY-2 2014 23 640 92 165 37 9 16 69 11 7 67 124 .296 .382 .480 .863 145 ASMVP-19 2015 24 311 30 72 12 3 11 38 3 3 26 66 .255 .322 .436 .758 110 2016 25 368 45 88 14 2 11 45 5 2 24 74 .263 .323 .416 .740 98 2017 26 570 72 131 24 2 28 74 15 6 64 100 .263 .346 .487 .833 118 5 Yr 5 Yr 2321 305 578 108 18 85 268 45 26 217 461 .281 .357 .475 .833 128 162 162 641 84 160 30 5 23 74 12 7 60 127 .281 .357 .475 .833 128
Year Age PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards 1955 20 501 48 121 23 11 5 47 2 5 18 60 .255 .284 .382 .666 77 1956 21 572 66 169 30 7 7 60 6 6 13 58 .311 .330 .431 .761 106 1957 22 474 42 114 17 7 4 30 0 4 23 45 .253 .288 .348 .637 73 1958 23 556 69 150 24 10 6 50 8 2 31 41 .289 .327 .408 .736 95 1959 24 456 60 128 17 7 4 50 2 3 15 51 .296 .322 .396 .718 92 1960 25 620 89 179 22 6 16 94 4 5 39 72 .314 .357 .458 .815 121 ASMVP-8 1961 26 614 100 201 30 10 23 89 4 1 35 59 .351 .390 .559 .949 150 ASMVP-4GG
That Puig, if he were able to keep it up over the course of a season, would be elite. The second-half Puig increased his walk rate by more than two points and dropped his strikeout rate by three points. He lowered his ground-ball rate by seven points, and upped his hard-hit rate by five points. It’s what you want. You saw the results; he was the Dodgers’ best second-half hitter in 2017.
Puig has had quite a ride going from one of the most dynamic mid-season debuts in Dodger history, to an MVP candidate the following season, to being demoted just two years later to AAA back to one of the best players on a team that almost won a World Championship.
The Puig I saw last Sept/Oct I had never seen before. If he carries that into 2018 the sky could be the limit. I do think Puig has an MVP type season in him, and this season would be as good a time as any to have it.
The Dodgers consensus number one positional prospect (not mine) was sent down yesterday ending his futile attempt to make the opening day 2018 Dodger roster.
Verdugo with all his skills faced an uphill battle even without Matt Kemp on the 2018 roster. When you add in the fact that Kemp is going to be part of the opening day roster there was just no way you could wedge Verdugo onto the roster. In the long run Verdugo may prove to be better than Toles or Pederson but for now he will need to make his case in Oklahoma.
Time is not running out for Verdugo as he won’t turn 22 until May 15th. I’m not sure what to make of Verdugo. The scouts love him. He is the consensus number one positional prospect. He seems to have turned a corner this year regarding some issues with his commitment which sometimes happens when you taste the major leagues and ultimately realize two things.
- All these players are great, and if you are going to be a productive major league player you are going to have to work your ass off.
- Being a major league baseball player is the best. The ultimate competition, first class at every step from the pay, the food, the accommodations, the ladies.
He’s a fine fielder with a great arm but without the speed to be a true center fielder. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a center fielder. If he has the skills to make up the lack of speed with routes and instinct along with positioning, he can still become a major league center fielder but the odds are against it right now. Yet he’s young, and we will know more when we see where the Dodgers play him in AAA this spring/summer.
If Toles is as good as we think he is, left field is going to be a tough nut to crack. They are very much the same kind of player with Toles having the advantage in speed and Verdugo the advantage in his arm.
Right field is Puig until it isn’t.
Taylor is the man in CF, but 2nd base could be his as early as 2019 leaving the race for the future Dodger CF job to Pederson, Verdugo, and DJ Peters.
I kind of expect Verdugo to knock down the door this summer, and how the Dodgers find a place for him when he’s in their living room will be one of the more interesting stories of the summer.
Adam Liberatore, Jake Peter, Dylan Baker, and Donovan Solano were removed from major league camp last night. The only surprise here was Liberatore who I thought would be one of the final cuts.
We never got to see much of Dylan Baker but he will head to AAA as rotation depth. He has to prove he’s healthy and has the stuff to help the big club later this summer if they need it.
Liberatore, when healthy is a quality, left-handed arm that will probably be called upon this summer.
Jake Peter started out this spring red hot and turned a few heads but as he started facing more major league pitchers instead of minor league pitchers his numbers tumbled. He is a rare left hand hitting 2nd/3rd baseman who would appear to be the future replacement for Chase if and when gets hurt this year.
The only reason Solano lasted this long was that Corey Seager was not playing shortstop. Even if something happens to Corey, I’d expect Taylor to play SS, and Locastro to get the call not Solano. I don’t think we’ll see Solano again unless things really take a turn south.
|Dylan Baker||SP||Help||Future rotation depth|
|Adam Liberatore||RP||Help||Expect him back on the Dodgers|
|Jake Peter||Infielder||Prospect||If not for Chase, Peter would be on the team.|
|Donovan Solano||Infielder||Depth||Would take a lot for Solano to get back to the Dodgers.|
The Dodgers have won five straight division titles and the only thing probably keeping them from winning six in a row is going to be team health.
That health was tested tonight when Justin Turner took a fastball off the wrist and suffered a non-displaced fracture. If you are wondering how long he is going to be out, Eric Stephen tweeted out this comp.
Not sure how the injuries compare but Freddie Freeman missed 44 games last year with a non-displaced wrist fracture
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) March 20, 2018
Freeman fractured his wrist in May so he was out while the regular season was going. With Turner getting hurt today, with ten days until opening day, maybe he only misses about 35 regular season games if they follow the same timeline though I imagine each injury is unique to itself but at least it is a guideline.
Back in my memory, we went into 2005 with high hopes and didn’t think too much of Jayson Werth breaking his wrist during spring training. That, however, was just the beginning of a season where everyone seemed to get hurt which turned into Clayton Kershaw so I won’t lament 2005, but I never like broken wrists in the Spring. Or the summer for that matter. Or broken ribs in October, right Hanley?
Anyway, lots of speculation on how this will play out. The Dodgers have so many options.
- Move Forsythe to 3rd, and replace him at 2nd with Hernandez thus paving a way for Trayce Thompson to make the team.
- Move Hernandez to 3rd, keep Forsythe at 2nd thus paving a way for Trayce Thompson to make the team.
- Move Barnes to 2nd, keep Farmer as the backup catcher.
- Wild ass move, let Edwin Rios give it a shot.
- Smaller wild ass move, let Rob Segedin give it a shot.
I expect number one or number two and it will impact the team because Justin Turner was arguably the best hitter on the team.
Corey Seager better not have a problematic throwing arm. He just better not.
Every week or so during the spring MLB.com updates their projected starting lineups for 2018. It is an interesting read and this nugget popped up on my radar.
Old friend Miguel Rojas is slated to be the opening day starting shortstop for the Miami Marlins. Are you as shocked as I am about this news? Are you as shocked as I am to find out that Miguel Rojas was really good in 2017?
Rojas got his start with the Dodgers in 2015 when he was pressed into service due to injuries. At the time Rojas showed an excellent glove playing shortstop, second base, third base, and even a game in the outfield. For all this great glove work he was horrible with the bat posting an OPS of .464. It seemed fairly certain that his career arc would be a major league utility infielder bouncing back between AAA and the majors from team to team. The Dodgers started him on that journey when they included him in the Dee Gordon trade. Rojas didn’t have that journey, instead, he has stayed with the Marlins major league team all three years and his bat improved enough that he is now a starting shortstop. In fact, his OPS of last year was a sterling .736. His glove is so good that even with only 306 plate appearances, he earned a 1.4 in fWAR. To put that in perspective Brandon Crawford had over 550 plate appearances and only earned a fWAR.
Rojas has no power but his great contact skills have allowed him to post a very decent wOBA and combined with his defense he has turned himself into a bonafide major league baseball player.
I felt he was headed for the Oscar Robles career arc so big time hat tip for proving me wrong.
One of the greatest Los Angeles Dodgers of all time passed away on March 9th, 2010.
The 3 Dog holds so many Los Angeles Dodger records:
Triples (16) , Longest hitting streak (31)
At Bats (7,495), Runs (1,004), Hits (2,091), Triples (116), Total Bases (3,094), XBH (585), PA (8,035)
From 1960 – 1973 Willie Davis put together one hell of a career. He was considered a chronic underachiever, and for most Dodger fans in the 1960’s will be forever remembered as the center fielder who made three errors in game two of the 1966 World Series,
The Orioles were the first to break through with three unearned runs in a terrible inning for the Dodgers’ Willie Davis. First, the centerfielder dropped consecutive fly balls (after losing both in the sun). Then he threw a wild ball past third base after the second drop.
Yet, just as Clayton Kershaw should not be measured by his failure to hold two four-run leads in game five of the 2017 World Series, Willie Davis should be measured by his decade-long excellence as the Dodgers starting center fielder for two World Championship teams.
As the numbers above show he was Mr. Los Angeles Dodger, a constant in Chavez Ravine as his team changed about him over and over. He saw the highs of the great teams from 62-66, then stuck around to see the wretched teams of 67, 68, followed by the slow youth movement that was capped just after he was finally traded to the Expo’s for the final piece of the puzzle in Iron Man Mike Marshal.
Through it all Willie Davis did his thing never quite reached stardom but certainly putting his stamp on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Willie was one of those ballplayers who did things easily so lazy got pinned to him. There was no kinetic energy to Willie, he simply flowed through a baseball game. I’ve always found that the more graceful the player the easier it is to pin a tag that they are lazy or don’t care when the truth is, things just come easily for them.
The first time I saw Willie Davis, Mr. Ed was giving him hitting advice.
The next time I saw him was at the Ravine in 1970. He quickly became one of my favorite and most exasperating Dodgers. At times he could do it all, other times average was all we got. His speed allowed him to patrol CF well enough to win three straight gold gloves between 1971 – 1973. He hit well enough to become the only LA Dodger to eclipse 2,000 hits.
I was lucky enough to see Willie Davis play, more importantly, I was able to see WIllie Davis run. Boy could the 3-Dog run. Who needs home runs when the 3-Dog is sliding into 3rd comfortably ahead of the throw.
Run Willie Run
Willie Davis Legendary Baseball Player and Golfing – WTF Golf Episode 14 (via wtfgolf)
In 2006 he was honored by his high school alma mater Roosevelt High. In the video Willie explains exactly the roots of his 3-Dog nickname. Lot of great photo’s in this video from his high school track star days and his Dodger baseball cards. Also some nice video of Willie playing Dodger baseball. This is a cool video I really recommend you take a look at it.
Willie Davis – Alumni Roosevelt HS Hall of Fame (via
Last summer the Dodgers knew they would need to augment the rotation of Kershaw,Hill, Wood, Maeda, and Ryu for the postsesaon and they turned to Yu Darvish.
This year they will need to do the same. The rotation is solid but not great and it is hard for me to believe they won’t be adding a pitcher this summer. The name that comes up the most is Chris Archer.
I read an interesting column by Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs discussing the Gerrit Cole trade. Many felt that the Pirates didn’t get a good haul because they didn’t get the best Houston prospects but Jeff points out that Houston is so loaded you can get their second tier prospects and players and still make out very well.
I think the Dodgers are in the same boat. They have a glut of outfielders right now and real space for them. Just like Houston, the Dodgers can’t find a spot for their best positional prospect. Not only is Alex Verdugo blocked in LF, he is blocked by three players. He is blocked in RF by Puig. He is blocked in CF by Taylor who is under team control for years. Puig could walk at the end of next year. Taylor could take over second by 2019. Verdugo might be better than either Toles or Pederson.
At catcher the Dodgers have a future jewel in Ruiz but some scouts like Will Smith even more.
On the pitching side you can look toward 2019 with Walker Buehler, Mitchell White, Dennis Santana, Yadier Alvarez, and of course Julio Urias.
My point is the Dodgers have plenty of assets to trade for Chris Archer using the same blueprint of a deal that Houston did to acquire Gerrit Cole.
What those assets will be on July 31st will be interesting.
Alex Verdugo or Joc Pederson or Andrew Toles or Yusniel Diaz or DJ Peters
Austin Barnes or Kyle Farmer or Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz
Dennis Santana or Brock Stewart
I don’t know but I do suspect that at some point this summer it will be Archer time in Los Angeles.
Baseball has to take a back seat for a few posts.
I get it. I really do. I hate regulation, maybe more than the next person because I hate being told what to do. The reality of our world is that humankind has a certain percentage of deplorables and if you don’t regulate them, their worst instincts run rampant making our world a lesser place to live as those who control commerce go down the easiest path.
President Trump has done exactly what he has said he would do. While this 3rd world despot is making news every day with his chaotic regime his cabinet members are dismantling numerous regulations that were put in place to protect our world.
I’m old enough to remember when our rivers caught on fire, our air was unbreathable, our waters undrinkable. People died by the thousands because of the lack of car safety regulations, bike regulations, work safety laws, and of course nicotine. Imagine the world in 1965 where 45% of Americans smoked and permeated everything you did. For 55% of us, our rights and health were being trampled by the 45%. Our pristine lands were being abused by the loggers, the developers, and anyone who saw a way to make a buck. The wildlife was being exterminated with chemicals.
The 60’s and early 70’s were a fucking mess. Think of it as living in the Simpsons Springfield with C. Montgomery Burns doing whatever he wanted with Homer in charge with only Lisa serving as the conscience of the country.
This is what Trump wants again. Anything that stands in the way of commerce must be dismantled in his mind.
I’d love to think we could live un-regulated, that the humankind choice would always be the best choice for his/her neighbors and a certain percentage of us would make that choice but it only takes that small percent that will screw up our world.
The safety nets are being shredded and sure within every safety net there are abusers but should those in real need due to circumstance have to pay the price for those who abuse a system put in place to give the people who need the help the most?
Trump will eventually be impeached but the damage his administration is causing will haunt us for a long time because removing Trump will not remove the movement of this administration. The termites are already in place it will take years to root them out.
In time I do expect this new movement started by the high school kids to overtake a majority (electoral majority) but that will take a few years. This won’t end up being just about guns, it will be about everything.
The Dodgers cleaned up their house again on Monday afternoon moving six more players to minor league camp and releasing one. They now have 38 in major league camp.
Mark Lowe was given his release.
|Walker Buehler||SP||Prospect||Will be back before you know it|
|Edwardo Paredes||SR||Help||Could play the same role he played last year.|
|Will Smith||Catcher||Prospect||At least a year away|
|Manny Banuelos||SP/SR||Help||Joins Henry Owens as he tries to go from a WAL to something useful|
|Rob Segedin||1st/3rd/OF||Help||Sadly for Rob he is strictly DL insurance.|
Spring training stats don’t mean much this is simply for our amusement. Not everyone is hot but most are so it isn’t easy to find Dodger who have started out the spring as though they were still in hibernation.
Austin Barnes has the lowest centigrade with a minuscule OPS of .229.
Tim Locastro did not help himself any this spring with just a few hits and zero walks in his twenty at-bats.
Joc Pederson is fighting for a job and not doing well to keep from needing to hone his skills in AAA.
On the pitching side no one of note is really struggling. I only showed pitchers with at least three innings but I had to put Baez on here just because he might be the only pitcher on this list who makes the major league roster. It just takes one bad inning to mess up the numbers for a pitcher in spring training as Paredes can tell you.
Brock Stewart stands out because he was very hittable, did not strike out anyone and thus is already in minor league camp where they hope he works out his kinks.