Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Dee Gordon were all selected to represent the Dodgers in the 2014 All-Star Game to be played Tuesday, July 15th at Target Field in Minneapolis. Yasiel Puig will be a starting outfielder for the NL, and Clayton Kershaw is in the running to start the game on the mound.
Yasiel Puig, a first-time All-Star, was voted in by the fans. Zack Greinke was a manager’s selection, and Clayton Kershaw and Dee Gordon were chosen by the players.
Clayton Kershaw, who pitched a no-hitter this season at Dodger Stadium, will appear in his fourth consecutive All-Star Game. Zack Greinke was an All-Star in 2009, while the All-Star experience will be the first for Puig and Gordon. Puig is also the first Cuban-born outfielder to be voted into the NL starting lineup.
Yasiel Puig has had an incredible impact on the Dodgers and the game of baseball since debuting in Blue last June. This year, Puig is hitting .307/.393/.516 with 12 homeruns and 50 RBIs in 84 games. He has also been incredible in right field, and with only 1 error and 6 assists, Puig has really established himself as the premier right-fielder in the National League. An incredible journey and harrowing escape from Cuba not only allowed him to nab a $42 million contract with the Dodgers but also has shined the light on the untapped baseball talent in Cuba and the often sketchy paths Cuban athletes must take in order to risk everything for that chance to play in the Majors and to live in the U.S.
Whether you love him or hate him, Puig is here to stay. His bat flips and aggressive style of play has sparked the Dodgers and brought them back
from the brink of despair last season. Puig, still learning the ropes, has really matured over the past year with the Dodgers. Like I have said before, if you don’t enjoy watching Puig play the game of baseball, you may be dead inside. Puig’s talents should be showcased at the national level, and the NL may even benefit from his bat flips and cannon arm with home field advantage in the World Series.
Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher of our generation, and he should be starting the All-Star Game. Mike Matheny might go with his own ace Adam Wainwright, but there’s no one who can top the sheer talent and competitiveness of Kersh. Even though Kersh missed time with a shoulder injury, he hasn’t let that disabled stint get in his way this season. Kershaw is on a mission. He’s well on his way to his second Cy Young Award. If Kershaw had enough qualifying innings, he would be leading the NL in ERA (1.85), he’s sixth in strikeouts (115), and he’s tied for first with Cueto with a 0.87 WHIP. Clayton Kershaw was sent down by the baseball heavens, and we are mere spectators in the midst of witnessing a Hall of Fame career.
With all the Clayton Kershaw hubbub, Zack Greinke seems to get glossed over at times. There’s no mistake about it that Greinke is a superstar ace on his own right. Greinke is the right-handed ying to Kershaw’s left-handed yang. They are like binary stars.
Greinke is tied for first place in the NL with 11 wins, he’s seventh in ERA (2.66), and he’s fourth in strikeouts (119). Greinke is quirky and crafty. He uses his mental abilities to outsmart batters with his arsenal of pitches. While Kershaw and Greinke harkens us back to the days of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, the two modern hurlers have yet to pitch together in the World Series.
Dee Gordon may have the best All-Star story of all. Gordon, #reDEEfined and raring out of Spring Training, took second base and flew with it. After becoming an error machine at shortstop, the Dodgers tried Dee in center field and at second base in order to avoid the long wild throws from short to keep his speed in the lineup. Dee has not only took on a new position, but he has worked really hard offensively as well. He is getting on base, and he has finally become that quintessential lead-off guy the Dodgers have always wanted him to become.
Dee is a game changer. If there was a stat which could calculate the number of times Dee flusters opposing pitchers and teams, he would lead the Majors along with steals (42 as of July 7th). Gordon is a smarter base runner as well. He is 11th in the league in batting average (.302) and ninth in hits (101).
There was a time when almost everyone had given up on Dee. He was terrible at shortstop and he couldn’t get on base in order to use that amazing speed. Dee is what the All-Star Game should be all about. I hope he steals one for us!