This man should bat leadoff for the 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers. Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Case for Yasiel Puig At Leadoff

By now everyone’s heard that Yasiel Puig could bat leadoff next year. I’d even say it’s likely that he bats leadoff next year given what’s been said. It seems that Mattingly likes Crawford in the #2 hole and likes Left Handed/ Right Handed balance in the lineup. This likely means that the lineup in Sydney will be Puig-Crawford-Hanley-Gonzalez-Uribe-Ethier-Guerrero-Ellis. Of course, assuming Kemp is healthy. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that lineup, ideally Kemp will be healthy and will force Uribe further down in the lineup, and you may have your reservations about LHB-RHB balance in the lineup, but that’s a pretty solid lineup.

My favorite part is the part where Puig bats leadoff. Stacie agrees with my opinion as well, she puts it well.

Puig’s fiery aggressiveness and speed could be the spark at the top of the order which could ignite this batting order like a wick to a candle. Puig lead-off in 28 games for the Dodgers last season while hitting .333 with 8 homeruns and 18 RBIs

Yep, he’s agressive, fiery, and definitely a spark. You may wonder about his free swinging tendencies, and of course, the first half of the season was all of Puig’s talent coming out. He swung at most pitches he saw, and for the most part it worked. Pitchers tried to challenge him, and he smoked him, with his elite bat tool, and bat speed, he put up a .391/.422/.616 through the all star break. Now, while that wasn’t a fluke, his silly .472 BABIP, and.19 BB/K rate showed it was clearly unsustainable. He was on fire, but lets be honest, every break was falling his way.

LOL

Yep, he was bound to regress, and a lot of prospect hounds wondered if he was polished enough to stick in the major leagues at that point. In fact most people including me were very pessimistic about his success, because that’s what you did if you were a Dodger fan circa the all star break.

If you compare pre-all star break, and post-all star break Puig, you’d come away a bit underwhelmed at first glance, every major number trended downwards, his BABIP, batting average, his OBP, Slugging. He experienced “regression”, which is normal for a player. But I was even more impressed. His below average BB% actually became above the league average shooting up 6.4% to 10.7%. That’s amazing, which is why in his “miserable” October, he still was 26% above average even with a .214 batting average and a .214 BABIP.

Incredible.

So if you were to ask me, Puig and his above average BB% should leadoff, you saw the adjustments, and they’re real, the NLCS, as bad as it was, was a sample size of 7 games. Not nearly enough to make a judgement of him versus superior pitching. However that NLCS was enough to say he was pressing in a bad situation, Puig will be fine, the NLCS was a fluke. At his worst, he’s still a well above average major league hitter which is stunning to me, put one of your best hitters in the leadoff spot where they’ll have more chances to do damage, that sounds like a good idea to me.

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig

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