Just imagine this for a minute. You are at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are playing the Giants. It’s late in the game, possibly the seventh or eighth inning. It’s a tie game. The Dodgers are batting. The pitcher’s spot is due up. Don Mattingly looks for a bat off the bench. He chooses Yasiel Puig. You hear the sirens go off all throughout the stadium. The Puig Alert sirens blare over the Dodger Stadium P.A. system. Dodger fans everywhere stop what they are doing. It’s a Puig Alert, which means you must stop what you are doing, or drop duck and cover.
Everyone stops what they’re doing, from the vendors selling beer, to the hooligans in the Pavilions, to the fans in the box seats. Dodger fans urinating in the brand new Dodger Stadium non-trough urinals stop as well. We have a Puig Alert! The 22 year old Cuban outfielder strides to the plate. The Giants make a pitching change. It doesn’t matter. Puig swings at the very first offering and…..crack! It’s a high fly ball to deep right field….going….going….Gone! The sirens blare over and over again, as Puig rounds the bases.
This could be a reality sooner than we think. The Dodgers are still pondering with the idea of adding Yasiel Puig to the opening day roster. I’ve said before that the Dodgers shouldn’t rush Puig along. it’s more important for his development that he gets regular playing time, than adding him to the roster where he has no position to play and would have to sit on the bench. That’s the same thing the Dodgers were saying as well, but now it appears they might be changing their tune. Is Puig’s unbelievable spring wearing the Dodgers down? It’s a possibility. Then Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times sent this tweet out.
“All different scenarios” involving Puig being discussed by #Dodgers, according to Mattingly.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) March 25, 2013
It seems as though Puig is having such an amazing spring that he may be forcing the Dodgers hand. Puig may after all is said and done, start the season on the Dodger roster after all. If he does, it would be a huge weapon off the bench. The injury to Hanley Ramirez has opened up a spot on the bench. The Dodgers have said already that they would prefer that spot go to a right handed hitting outfielder. Guys like Alex Castellanos, Elian Herrera, and Alfredo Amezaga still have a good shot at grabbing that last open roster spot, but there is a 50/50 chance now that it could go to Puig. Adding Puig to the bench would give the Dodger bench something it sorely lacks, power.
The Dodgers also have a need for someone to serve as a late inning defensive replacement for Carl Crawford. With Crawford still recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers aren’t going to want to overwhelm him. Puig would be a great choice for a fifth outfielder.
Puig has had one of the most dominant springs for a position player in Dodger history. Puig is batting .526 (30 for 57) this spring. He has accumulated 48 total bases. His line looks almost superhuman. Ruthian if you will. Puig has a OBP of .509, and an OPS of 1.363! He has hit three home runs, and has driven in eleven runs. A potential worry and a reason the Dodgers would want him to continue his work in the minors where he can get everyday playing time, is because of his lack of plate discipline. Puig has not worked a walk this spring at all, and has whiffed ten times.
Other than his lack of plate discipline, I see no holes in his game. Puig can do it all, and it is looking like we have a developing legend on our hands. Can Puig keep up his amazing play against real major league pitching once the regular season starts?
When was the last time a Dodger hit over .500 in the spring? That’s just crazy insane. When the Dodgers first signed Puig to a 47 million dollar contract last summer, some people called it risky. Some people lamented the Dodger’s signing, saying it was a bad idea to give a player they had never seen play before, that much money. I wonder what those naysayers think of the deal now? The Dodgers have a great scouting and development department. The Dodgers are not going to give 47 million dollars to just any player. It seems like Puig is earning every dollar of his contract.
As each day passes, the fervor for Puig gets louder and louder. Dodger fans are clamoring for him. Twitter explodes with each at-bat. We could be seeing a star forming before our very eyes. Remember if Puig does make the roster, it would not be as a starter. It would be as a fifth outfielder on the bench, and he wouldn’t be getting very much playing time. He would be spelling Crawford and or Andre Ethier in the late innings, and occasionally pinch-hitting, and that’s it. Once Hanley returns in late May, the Dodgers may have to option Puig back down to the minors.
Puig went 1 for 2 in the Dodger’s 8-2 loss yesterday night. he singled to right in his first at-bat. In his second at-bat he struck out. it was his eleventh whiff of the spring. His batting average dropped to .526. Will we be hearing Puig alerts at Dodger Stadium in 2013? The Dodgers don’t have to decide just yet. The deadline for teams to set their 25 man rosters for opening day is Sunday March 31.