Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers are the biggest baseball story of the year. Except, maybe, if you’re a Yankees fan. Or a Brewers fan. Or…
The underachieving men in blue were truly pathetic after the first two months of the season. Then they got healthy. They got in sync. And most of all, they got Puig.
Yasiel Puig is a rare combination of multifaceted talent and charisma. He reminds me of some special prospects of decades past.
I remember seeing Pedro Guerrero deployed in right field in Dodger Stadium in his September call up prior to his rookie season. Just the way he stood, moved to shag fly balls, the effortless speed. I could tell he was enjoying himself. He had fun. He loved the game of baseball. He had that special something. He had “It.”
Dwight Gooden. “Doc” had a blistering fastball. But he had presence, too, like Bob Gibson. I mean, nobody is like Bob Gibson, but Doc was special.
Puig has something indefinable. Like Fernando, like Maury Wills. He has the potential to be a dominant heart-of-the-order hitter like Paul Goldschmidt or Buster Posey. I see him more as a Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval in blue. A dangerous streaky hitter for average and power, a potentially great defender. With more speed and power than Panda.
We’ve already seen potential problems, just as we saw problems for each of the players named above. Puig is just a rookie, so we’ll see more stuff come up. He seems to be doing fine. Don Mattingly thinks so too, and Donnie Baseball has a good baseball mind.
Mattingly also has the players. Even if they all just play average – for what they’ve done in their careers – the Dodgers are looking at several coming seasons of success. All their stars except Adrian Gonzales have had personal issues, but winning often makes those go away. Next to these guys, Puig is just a teddy bear.