Is there a bigger star in baseball right now than Yasiel Puig? Don’t answer that. Rhetorical question. Of course there isn’t.
The Dodgers rookie outfielder hasn’t left the spotlight since he was called up June 3. Puig and his five tools have done nearly all the jaw-dropping things — including surviving an errant pitch to the face and running full-speed into a wall — that anybody could ask, aside from admitting he’s a cyborg sent from the future to rid baseball of Alex Rodriguez (but, hey, there’s still time!).
There’s no question Puig is the catalyst behind the Dodgers’ mini-resurgence this month. The team is still last in the NL West, but the division is tightly bunched with no team yet to break from the pack midway through the campaign. Currently Puig has a slash line of .427/.457/.708 with seven homers and 16 RBI since being called up, all while flashing the glove and his cannon of an arm in the field.
It’s that resume that has many calling for Puig’s inclusion in next month’s All-Star game, despite his playing in a only third of the games that other worthy All-Star candidates have.
He certainly has our support. Puig’s propensity to make spectacular plays over the last three weeks has been unmatched, and he has re-energized his flaming disappointment of a team back into semi-contention. People want to see him in the midsummer classic. It’d be great for the game and a treat for the fans, especially if it would also mean his inclusion in the home run derby. This is a no-brainer, right, Bruce Bochy, manager of the defending World Series champion Giants and thus manager for this year’s NL All-Star squad and thus the guy who picks NL’s reserve players?
“The kid has done an unbelievable job since he came up and is a great talent,” Bochy said. “But it’s a small sample size at this point. It would be hard to leave somebody off who has done it the whole half. I look at it as picking guys who had the best half, not what they did last year or for two to three weeks.”
Ugh. Of course somebody from the Dodgers’ hated rival had to go and ruin all the fun. We’re not saying the Dodgers-Giants hatefest is the absolute reason why Bochy is so noncommittal in naming Puig an All-Star, but we’re also not ruling it out. After all, with that sweep earlier this week, Puig now has the Dodgers just two games back of the Giants in the bottom half of the division. You don’t think Bochy is even in the slightest case bitter about that (namely, this)? Granted, Bochy did go on to say he’s open to changing his mind before the full rosters are revealed next Saturday.
So, you hear that, Yasiel? Just keep defying all reasonable logic on the baseball field for another week or so and Ebenezer Scrooge up north might give you more consideration for being bestowed the title of All-Star. Might.
Even if Puig doesn’t make Bochy’s final cut, we still can’t see him not being part of one of those “last man on the roster” gimmick votes MLB always lets the fans determine. So, right now, if pulling numbers out of thin air without giving much thought is okay, we’ll say Puig has a 78 percent chance of being named an All-Star, despite Bruce Bochy’s proclamations.