12 months of the Puig elevator
A professional baseball players career is going to be full of ups and downs, but for Yasiel Puig the last twelve months have been quite the elevator ride.
On July 31st, 2016 Puig had three hits culminating his July with an overall OPS of .806 which had followed his June OPS of .826. The elevator is on the 5th floor.
His reward for being a productive offensive player and possibly the best Dodger outfielder was to be sent to AAA on August 1st, 2016. Puig went from being the Dodgers best hitting outfielder to playing in Oklahoma. From planes to buses. An attitude adjustment was the prognosis. Elevator has reached the basement.
Pundits said he was a cancer
During his first week with Oklahoma, he tweeted about a big team party and was derided in many publications as a man who simply wouldn’t grow up. The Dodgers said they sent him OKC with specific instructions on what they wanted him to work on. Being a better teammate might have been involved.
Puig destroyed AAA but was not brought back in August. Word got out that he had been placed on waivers and claimed by the Brewers. The Dodgers were trying to make a waiver deal with the Brewers before time ran out. Supposedly it would have involved the huge contract of Ryan Braun.
Pundits predicted that Puig would never wear a Dodger uniform again.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the player the Dodgers acquired to replace Puig had just finished one of the worst months in LAD history for an outfielder.
Player Split G Year PA OPS Eric Young August 24 1992 75 .359 Tommy Davis August 23 1961 79 .373 Josh Reddick August 25 2016 94 .396 Don Demeter August 19 1958 56 .401 Franklin Stubbs August 25 1986 87 .453 Devon White August 21 1999 86 .465 Willie Crawford August 23 1971 81 .468 Bill North August 21 1978 70 .469 Ron Fairly August 28 1967 78 .470 Brett Butler August 21 1997 81 .480 Juan Samuel August 23 1990 68 .484
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Puig was finally reinstated to the Dodger team in Sept when teams are allowed to flaunt the roster rules they play with from April – August. Dodger management said that Puig had done everything they had asked of him in OKC and was being rewarded by being brought back to the Dodgers. The Josh Reddick .396 OPS in August as his replacement is not mentioned. Elevator heads back up to the 3rd floor
Pundits rolled their eyes
Puig would put up a .900 OPS in Sept playing mostly against LHP. The elevator moves up to the 6th floor.
Puig would once again fail to make an impact in October and went into the winter with his job very much in doubt. Elevator drops to 2nd floor
Pundits predicted he would be traded during the winter
Puig survives the winter and comes into spring as the Dodger starting right-fielder.
All the right things are being said about Puig, as he goes through a quiet spring. No reports of the ball booming off his bat, or Puig being a bad teammate, of Puig, at all.
Puig is entering his age 26 season. Many a Dodger has had a career season at age 26. The elevator moves to the fifth floor in anticipation of a successful 2017.
Puig starts out the year with a bang with four home runs and 1.132 OPS by April 15th. The elevator moves up to the 7th floor with expectations that it will ride higher.
Puig hits a slump and his OPS drops to the low .700 for much of May/June. The elevator drops back to the 3rd floor.
Pundits say this is who Puig is, an average to good player but will never see the star potential that he displayed in 2013 and 2014.
Through all of this Puig is playing the best right field any Dodger fan has seen since the days of Raul Mondesi and Reggie Smith.
Puig gets it going and by the end of June has moved his OPS back to .800 where it has stayed for almost two months. Elevator rides back up to the 7th floor.
During all this time Puig has been hitting from the eighth hole and proven to be the best eight hitter in baseball.
With the lack of clutch hitting still being the piano on his back, Puig comes to the plate on July 14th and hits a game winning three run home run off of the Marlins ace reliever pitcher AJ Ramos. Elevator gets a jump start and finds itself on the 9th floor for the first time.
Did I mention that Puig continues to play gold glove caliber right field? Just about every game he makes a play that only Puig could make. Taking a home run away from JD Martinez, throwing out runners at home with 260 foot on the fly throws. He’s gotten so good in RF that he’s starting to catch the casual fly ball with aplomb much to the delight and chagrin of the broadcast team of Joe/Orel. Elevator has cruised to the 10th floor.
On Aug 16th, Puig comes through once again, this time with a walk off double to complete a 5-4 come from behind win putting the Dodgers 51 games over .500.
Puig is no longer batting eighth.
Puig is now a teammate
Puig is now getting Gatorade baths not just giving them
The Wild Horse is loose and running wild
The elevator is now sitting at the penthouse, a place it has not been since July of 2014.
- Posted in: 2017 Dodgers ♦ Uncategorized
- Tagged: Yasiel Puig
By the month, Puig 2017 to Date
OPS, PA, Month
.765, 104, April
.646, 97, May
.965, 99, June
.797, 74, July
.885, 52 August
On the season
.803, 426, 21 HR is a season career high
.907, 315, 31 BB, 62 SO , 20 HR vs. RHP
.486, 111, 19 BB, 14 SO, 1 HR vs LHP
The patience the team has shown Puig is beginning to pay off.
Tough love turned the bow of Puig’s one man kayak back into the wind.
Roberts giving Puig one more chance to come back to the team after Puig’s demotion to OKC
Is the key. At the outset of the 2016 season Roberts made it clear that Puig’s previous behavior, especially in the clubhouse relating with teammates and coaches had put Puig on thin ice. As the season wore on something happened behind the scenes and Puig was sent packing. When Puig was allowed to return it was in a platoon role. Then this season, batting in the 8 spot.
Give Roberts lots of credit for helping Puig.
Mattingly’s disappointment and frustration with Puig was well known.
Even a blind person could get the read between the lines on this count.
It is likely Mattingly would have never allowed Puig to return to the the team.
And credit the teammates who we know through the media have tried to help Puig through thick and thin. People like Adrian Gonzalez.
And most of all give the credit to Puig.
He is the one who had to swallow his pride, look hard in the mirror and change his attitude and approach to life in baseball.
By being a good actor and showing respect for the game and his teammates,
Puig earns the respect of his teammates.
I bet it feels better than Puig against the world.
If this new Puig sticks and carries over through next season, the elevator could reach the top floor. 2019 Arb eligible. 2020 earliest FA.
All You Need Is Love.