Puig / Clemente and other Puig notes

RobertoClemente

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.

Player Age WAR/pos OPS+ BA OBP SLG OPS
Roberto Clemente 20-26 20.7 104 0.298 0.331 0.431 0.763
G PA AB R H
917 3793 3561 474 1062
2B 3B HR RBI BB
163 58 65 420 174
Player Age WAR/pos OPS+ BA OBP SLG OPS
Yasiel Puig 22-26 15.9 128 0.281 0.357 0.475 0.833
G PA AB R H
587 2321 2055 305 578
2B 3B HR RBI BB
108 18 85 268 217

Puig:

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

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/21/2018.

Clemente:

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

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/21/2018.

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.

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2 Comments

  1. 68elcamino427

    Great article!

    This led me to review Puig’s batting splits by the month.

    I decided to focus on the past two seasons looking back to forecast what might be ahead.

    2016 – 2017 OPS by the Month

    .710 – .765 April
    .593 – .646 May
    .826 – .965 June
    .806 – .797 July
    ….. – .954 August
    .900 – .868 September

    The approach we saw from Puig at the plate beginning in August made him look like a different hitter than what he had shown us previously.
    Quiet in the box, tracking the pitches well, staying in on the ball, not chasing the outside breaking ball. The swing compact on the back end and through the baseball out front.

    Eager to see if this is a learned technique that will carry forward.
    If it is, Puig is gonna make lots more money when he hits FA.

    Like

  2. Your number three hitter
    Puig
    The Future is now here.

    Like

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