Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a home run against the Kansas City Royals on March 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.
With Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford out of the lineup suffering from hamstring injuries, the Dodgers have called up Yasiel Puig from AA Chattanooga.
The Dodgers signed 22 year-old Puig out of Cuba during the 2012 season to a seven-year, $42 million contract. At the time nobody understood why the team would sign him to such a deal with an outfield of Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier under contract.
In a year of disappointing performances and loads of injuries, it looks like the signing could pay off.
When you read about Yasiel Puig the word used to describe him most often is "raw."
He has a powerful swing that is compared to Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton. Puig has even joked about how often the media compares his body type to sports legend, Bo Jackson.
2013 has been an impressive year for Puig. Before the season he was rated the #47 prospect in the MLB by Baseball America and then he put up huge numbers in Spring Training.
Spring Training was the first time that many Dodger fans had been exposed to Puig, and they were blown away. He hit .400/.500/1.000 with four home runs, three triples, and 11 RBIs in spring and was the last player to get cut from the major league roster.
He has sustained fantastic numbers in the season with AA Chattanooga hitting .327/.383/.599 with eight home runs, 37 RBIs, 12 doubles and 13 stolen bases in 40 games.
Fans have clamored for him to get called up all season with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier struggling. Fans did not understand why he remained in AA.
Puig's biggest critique from scouts and the media is that he still needs to develop fundamentals and learn to rely on more than his raw talent.
His behavior has been another issue. He is am emphatic player, tossing his bat is frustration to strikeouts, and flipping his bat in home run celebrations.
Also in April he was arrested for reckless driving and driving without proof of insurance in Chattanooga Tennessee. The Dodgers took this case seriously because they did not want similar actions to distract from his play on the field or affect his attitude.
For being a player to have never been in the major leagues, Yasiel Puig is definitely intriguing. It will be exciting to see what he can do with his first opportunity playing in Los Angeles during this coming home stand.