An Example of Yasiel Puig’s Needed Development

With the Dodgers in last place and Yasiel Puig on fire in Double-A, pressure to call up the Cuban outfielder is building. In his last ten games, the 22-year-old has posted a .395/.465/.658 slash line, including seven extra base hits and six steals. Healthy and productive, Puig is once again knocking on the door to Los Angeles.

Earlier in the week, Dave Cameron discussed Andre Ethier being “eminently available” after comments and a benching by Manager Don Mattingly. Combine losing with mammoth contracts and the potential for roster shakeup seems inevitable. No individual stands to gain more than Yasiel Puig if this occurs.

But is Puig ready? From a baseball standpoint, yes. From a maturity standpoint, perhaps not.

In spring training, the baseball community saw the best of Puig on a daily basis. When one hits .517/.500/.828, there’s really no room for a cold spell. And while this provided a glimpse of his immense ceiling, baseball is ultimately a game of failure. How Puig responds to the inevitable failures that baseball pushes upon him may determine just how good he eventually becomes.

I was in attendance to watch Puig on May 8th against the Mobile BayBears (Double-A Arizona Diamondbacks), where he went 1 for 5, with his lone hit being a laser to center field, showing the tools that could make him a star. The rest of the game, however, Puig did nothing but draw negative attention to himself, beginning with a strikeout looking in the first inning. With a 1-0 count, top prospect Archie Bradley attacked Puig with fastballs on the inner half. Three 92-95 mph fastballs later and the right fielder took a slow walk back to the dugout with a runner on second and one out. Bradley is a terrific prospect, but the majors are full of pitchers who can do what Bradley did to Puig in that at-bat.

In the third inning, Puig was first pitch swinging with two outs and Joc Pederson on first base. Down four early, it’s a borderline situation to steal considering Pederson’s ability to score from first on an extra base hit and the risk of running into an out. But against a new pitcher, seeing a pitch or two would have afforded Pederson a chance to attempt a steal while Puig worked on timing him. Instead, he rolled over on an 88 mph fastball (a far cry from the 92-95 Bradley was throwing), resulting in a 6-4 force out.

Is this nitpicking? Absolutely. And while one could argue this wasn’t an example of explicitly bad baseball, it is the kind of thing that will get nitpicked once he gets to the big leagues and is asked to help turn around a $200 million disappointment.

Puig’s single was in the sixth with Pederson on second and no out. Down 4-0, there was little reason for him not to “grip it and rip it.”

After a 16-pitch walk by Pederson which included 11 foul balls, Puig faced a new pitcher with two outs and the bases loaded. After fouling off the first pitch, Puig did this after a questionable check swing strike.

Puig put the next pitch in play for another ground ball to shortstop to end the inning. Given the way in which he had just shown up the umpire, the ball could have been thrown behind Puig’s head and the umpire might have called strike three. Some umpires would not have even given Puig the chance to see another pitch and ejected him on the spot. Reacting that way to a called strike is simply poor judgment.

In the ninth, Puig worked a 3-1 count before grounding out to shortstop again. Late in the game and down by one, not running hard through first base was the stamp on a day where Puig’s body language and effort were simply not a match for his physical talents. Outside of his at bats, Puig was consistently the last player in the dugout between innings and could frequently be seen with his head in hands. In right field, he had the longest distance to run to reach the third base dugout, but breaking a slow jog at the third base line to walk the rest of the way does nothing but draw negative attention.

In this particular game, his frustration bubbled over onto the field and presented as immaturity. In fairness, many of us would struggle with similar issues if we had a $42 million dollar contract in hand at 22, and Puig is hardly the only immature kid in professional sports. But, on the big stage of the Major Leagues, this act won’t fly.

Even after the game, I witnessed Puig make a pair of kids wait 15 minutes or more for autographs as he toyed with his smartphone 10 feet away. I say “or more” because I was able to move my car, interview Archie Bradley, and the kids were still waiting as I left the ballpark. Both boys were respectful and patient while Puig went about his business like they did not exist. As a professional baseball player, one has to expect every moment at the ballpark will be scrutinized.

Baseball players do not develop the skills of a Yasiel Puig without a considerable amount of effort and determination. Without a doubt, the Dodgers outfielder wants to improve and puts pressure on himself to produce. However, he can do this without being the center of attention at all times. After all, he’s talented enough to consistently be the center of attention for all the right reasons.




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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.

107 Responses to “An Example of Yasiel Puig’s Needed Development”

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  1. David says:

    Seems overly harsh. Autographs? The guys who NEVER sign in MLB are far greater than the number who make kids wait 20-30 minutes before actually signing for them. The bat toss was dumb, but running in after you clear the 3rd base line? LOTS of guys in HIGH SCHOOL don’t do that. Who even cares about that? The pitcher is warming up for 5 minutes anyway. This post is more than nitpicking, it seems to have an agenda.

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    • Bryz says:

      I’ve had high school coaches that were on guys for not hustling as well. I’ve also earned playing time for hustling more than other guys even though they were more talented. I think you’re the one that’s overreacting.

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      • David says:

        I dunno – I never needlessly hustled in HS (running in between innings? Dumb) and was an area All-Star. You can wish everyone played like David Eckstein, but guys like Matt Kemp, Manny Ramirez and Josh Hamilton play laid back and those guys are/have been studs. Hustle, especially all that unnecessary crap for show, does not win games. Talent does.

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        • Jcutiger says:

          I’ve seen a number of times this season where players haven’t hustled not be safe b/c of it – each play had a bad throw that pulled the 1b off the bag but since they weren’t running hard, the 1b had time to get back on the bag.

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        • Bryz says:

          Perhaps because your talent outweighed your lack of hustle. Now if Puig isn’t hitting, his character flaws become magnified.

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    • Jarder says:

      The post did have an agenda; highlighting maturity issues that could be magnified at the major league level. These types of things would be a PR nightmare for a major league team to deal with. Having bad things to say about a player is not always character assassination, in some cases its part of the analysis.

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      • KCDaveInLA says:

        At least he will come to LA eventually, where inflated egos are met with considerable understanding. (Yes, I am a griping Midwesterner).

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    • Dave says:

      I think the idea here is that the autographs thing, and the walking from the baseline thing are minor by themselves, but when added to the strike reactions and the home run bat flips, show there’s a definite, larger problem.

      On the other hand, we heard stories about Bryce Harper like this too (remember when he blew kisses to a pitcher he’d just taken deep?) and he seems to have adjusted to the majors pretty well.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        We didn’t hear stories like this about Harper. Harper got in trouble for being a hyper-competitive asshole, and pretty much everyone who was at the game where he blew the kiss said that he was responding in kind to the pitcher showing people up. Harper doesn’t walk in from third base; he tries to be the first player in the dugout after every inning, and he signs autographs before and after every game, and has done so since A-ball.

        Lastly, Puig is 22 years old. Harper is still only 20 and hasn’t had any issues since he was 18, when he would normally have been a senior in high school, at which point he was already demonstrating far more maturity than Puig has to date.

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    • Dodger Blue!!! says:

      When you put him around a group of professionals that have been playing for years like agon,crawford,Hanley, and Kemp who have gone through the same thing as young stars will help. Hanley has been know for doing a lot of immature things but since hes come over from miami, i haven’t heard or seen a glimpse of immaturity.

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  2. LionoftheSenate says:

    He’s an emotional Latin player. Not uncommon. I don’t think maturity or lack of is a good enough reason alone to hold him back. Plenty of immature MLB players already. Lots of guys like Puig step it up in the show.

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    • Freakshow says:

      And lots more end up like Brett Lawrie, world’s of talent but the emotional maturity of a 5 year old prevents them from succeeding.

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  3. Dobbie says:

    Didn’t Harper have a lot of the same maturity questions when making his way up the latter? Now he was younger than Puig at the time, but it seems that being at the top level has brought out the more mature Harper. Perhaps we could see the same with Puig?

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  4. dof123 says:

    “Is this nitpicking? Absolutely.”

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  5. bigboneded says:

    At a certain point, think Manny Ramirez, his talent will overshadow any maturity issues. It’s just Yasiel being Yasiel.

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  6. Milton Bradley says:

    Seems like an upstanding gentlemen to me.

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  7. Alex says:

    Baseball is a game where talent can definitely be squandered by bad character. As mentioned, baseball is a game of failure, and the ability to deal with adversity is key to the game. You will not win at the major league level based on talent alone. You need dedication, and a willingness to adjust when bad things happen (such as a bad called strike, or pitchers adjusting to you)

    The author isn’t saying there isn’t time for Puig to mature, or that he will ultimately fail. Rather, he’s making the observation that in order for Puig to reach his full potential, he must do some maturing.

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    • David says:

      This is just wrong. You have to be a HORRIBLE human being to ruin a career in MLB if you have talent. Like Matt Bush or Elijah Dukes. Guys with minor issues like this? Name one that blew his shot. Todd Helton’s DUI is 200% worse than any of this and everyone calls him the “Toddfather.” Manny was a MESS and he played 18 years, hit 550+ HR and won 2 World Series. Even an uber-talented guy like JD Drew, who played like he could care less about baseball, hit 242 HR and won a ring. Not everyone is David Eckstein, a team is all about managing different personalities.

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      • wobatus says:

        You are missing the point. Those guys made it. Thousands never do and were uber-talented, too. And Mike doesnt say Puig won’t make it. This isnt a referendum on TWTW and Eckstein versus Manny.

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      • Tim says:

        Hell, Delmon Young had a bad attitude and ended up a terrible player, and is still employed.

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      • tynandaly says:

        Billy Bean’s career was ruined because he couldn’t cope with failure. Same thing with Ryan Vogelsong during his first tour in the bigs 10 years ago. Both guys were extremely talented prospects but mentally could not handle it. It doesn’t matter how talented you are if your mind isn’t there.

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    • JT says:

      Where is the “bad character”? From the author’s self-admitted nitpicking we have a too-easy strikeout, a bit of umpire arguing, jogging in a bit too slowly between innings, a subjective “not running all-out to first” without any context (tight hamstrings, maybe), and maybe reluctance to sign autographs?

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  8. MLB Rainmaker says:

    I think this commentary is right on. Does it reflect on his baseball ability? Probably not. But I think it does reflect on his ability to succeed at the big league level.

    To use a contrary example, Sal Perez didn’t have a real prospect profile before being called up in 2011 or really have a stat sheet like other catching prospects, but universally he was regarded to have a great attitude, strong work ethic, and high coachability. While he call-up was viewed is early, it was never 2nd guessed because of those intangibles.

    If you call up Puig with the ego, the entitlement, and that obscene bat flip, what happens when he struggles? Things could turn all Ryan Leaf quickly.

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    • David says:

      Perez has the best arm in the AL and could hit a pea shot out of a cannon at 100mph. None of that is due to hustle and grit.

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      • wobatus says:

        mike isnt talking about hustle and grit. Read it again. “Baseball players do not develop the skills of a Yasiel Puig without a considerable amount of effort and determination.”

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  9. Chris says:

    The only maturity I care about is that the triple slash stats look mature, and .395/.465/.658 looks like time for a call up.

    Trying to teach someone maturity in AA where they are the best player is a waste of time.

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    • Vince says:

      You do have a point in that talent is talent, but will you at least acknowledge that a player with a great triple-slash line who acts like a grownup (not even asking him be professional, just a grownup) might turn out differently than a player with a great triple-slash line who acts like a 6-year old when he doesn’t like a call and doesn’t bother running out ground balls?

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      • Chris says:

        Obviously acting like a professional is better than not. I just don’t see people typically responding well to admonishments of, “act better”, when they probably make more money than the entire coaching staff.

        It has always been my experience that the only thing that can make someone mature is an internal desire to do so.

        Additionally, if it doesn’t have a negative effect to their on-field play then I am not overly concerned.

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        • supershredder says:

          Well said. I think this sums up my views pretty well.

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        • wobatus says:

          So no one ever responds to outside counsel, they spontaneously work it out in all cases of self-improvement. The amount of money he has has nothing to do with it. And some guy writing a blog post is hardly admonishing him. Mike is offering an observation, hardly a directive.

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        • Vince says:

          But what you’re saying reinforces the point Mike is making. Mike’s whole gig is to look at prospects and offer insight as to what they are and are likely to become (exactly your “negatively affect their on-field play” point). Saying that he has some personality traits that may hinder him developing is exactly the same as saying a college-trained pitcher dominating in Low-A with a plus change and command of a subpar fastball is unlikely to have the same success at higher levels. That is a trait that is extremely likely to “have a negative effect” later. Same with extreme immaturity. Do guys who don’t run out ground balls generally spend extra time working on their weaknesses? No – that has effects. Do guys who have ejection-worthy tantrums over checked-swing calls generally listen to their coaches and more experienced teammates? No – that has effects. Mike isn’t saying he’s not still a great prospect, but “immature loafer” is just as relevant a trait as “polished pitcher tricking young hitters” is and is a data point in trying to divine his eventual value.

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    • Wobatus says:

      That’s not his slash line. He’s at .312/.381/.568. And the Dodgers have Pederson on the same team hitting .322/.397/.544 and reported to play hard at all times, plus he’s a year younger. He doesn’t have Puig’s tools but Puig may not even be the best player on his own minor league team.

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      • Chris says:

        Ah. I was just going by what the article had in it.

        Not really concerned with having any more in-depth knowledge of the Dodgers AA team.

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        • Wobatus says:

          Got it. But you did suggest he is the best player on his team, when he might not be.

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      • John says:

        Puig has played something like 12-14 games less than Pederson. 6 HRs and 11 SBs in 33 games is nothing to sneeze at.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          So, what you’re saying is that Pederson not only has better rate stats, but has produced them over a longer sample size?

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  10. marlins12 says:

    Am I on fangraphs?

    I don’t like it when scouts do this. It’s a good thing you even admit to nitpicking because that’s exactly what it is…nitpicking. 5 AB’s.

    That’s like not knowing who Joey Votto is and saying he probably shouldn’t be up in the big leagues because you just so happened to watch him on a night he K’d three times.

    Also, perhaps I misread your game situation, but it seems like one of your knocks on Puig is lack of patience with a man on first/his team down by 4? Because it would’ve been a good time to steal a base? Huh? Talk about extreme nitpicking. If Pederson is caught stealing in that situation, you’re probably writing an article about how he’s not ready because it’s dumb to give away outs in such a situation.

    This article is the opposite of why I come to fangraphs.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      I get the point, but I think Puig’s situation is special — partly because he’s had so much early success and partly because he’s getting paid so much.

      On one hand he’s got undeniable talent, but on the other he’s shown a marked lack of professionalism in his so far short career. In only a few months he’s managed to get arrested already and get pretty widespread attention for his showboating bat flips — all while continuing to outplay his competition. Its the rare situation where the stats scream ready and everything else screams trouble. That type of situation warrants nit-picking.

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    • Wobatus says:

      I think you have a shallow view of what fangraphs is about.

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      • Wobatus says:

        Sorry, I should flesh that out. Sure, running back to the dugout, not taking a pitch down 4 runs with a runner on, etc., seems like things fangraph authors typically might say don’t matter. What matters is evidence of good play backed by appropriate data. If Puig OPS’s .900 in the majors none of this will really matter much, if he doesn’t run out a pop fly or jogs after ball that falls in front of him in the outfield (although we see managers do things like bench Andre Ethier for some perceived lack of effort it seems).

        I think Mike takes a bunch of different incidents in just one game and paints the impression it makes. We know Puig has had several other incidents not related to his play. So what?

        But Puig is not a successful major league player yet. He isn’t Manny. Mike is saying Puig might still be held back. There are tons of prospects who are very talented and have success in the minors that never make it in the majors. Mike writes about prospects and watches tons of them go about their games. He doesn’t go just by stats. And with minor leaguers I don’t think you can just go by stats.

        I think the article is pretty clear it is a bit of nitpicking and just one game. It isn’t an indictment that Puig will never make it. And it’s food for thought I’d say and I’m glad to have read it and that it isn’t necessarily some sort of group think where all fangraphs writers have to say the exact same thing about make-up.

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        • Dave says:

          I notice the article did NOT mention whether Puig ran hard on those groundouts – from everything I’ve heard, he bolts down the line every time. I don’t think it’s a lack of playing hard, it’s just a lack of professionalism and maturity that will make life difficult for him in the bigs. Can you imagine if Joe West or Angel Hernandez was behind the plate when he flung his bat away like that? He’d be tossed in an instant, and never get a borderline call again. And there are plenty of pitchers who will put a fastball in his ear if he keeps flipping the bat on dingers like he does.

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        • wobatus says:

          You’re right. I just used that as an example.

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    • David says:

      This response. This. Spot. Effin. On. Thank you. I’ll read Tom Verducci and Rick Reilly if I wanted to learn about a superstar’s lack of hustle in between plays or making the “fans” wait for autographs. I don’t want to read about any of that, which is why I come to Fangraphs.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Puig’s a minor leaguer in AA. Statistical analysis doesn’t mean shit, especially considering that he’s not particularly young for the level. Newman’s analysis is far, far more valuable than that of someone scouting the box scores.

        Baseball isn’t just stats, especially in the minor leagues.

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  11. Pete says:

    Stick to stats, fangraphs. Not only are you unqualified to make claims like the ones in this article, you clearly wrote this article with an agenda. Poor journalism. Be good at what you are good at and don’t overextend. Actually, those GIFs are cool. Make more of those and leave prospects alone.

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    • Jarder says:

      Scouts grade player make-up as part of their job. Not everything is about stats.

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      • scraps says:

        A bullshit part of their job, lots of times.

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        • wobatus says:

          And sometimes not. People just point to the successful jerks and ignore the fact that is a select sample. Many fail. not necessarily due to bad make-up. But it can be something to keep an eye on.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          And other times it’s a hugely important part of their job. And the successful jerks are usually hypercompetitive assholes like Rose or Cobb, not 22 year olds who think they’re hot shit for doing well in AA.

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  12. JuanPierreDoesSteroids says:

    “Three 92-95 mph fastballs later and the right fielder took a slow walk back to the dugout with a runner on second and one out.”

    Is a Fangraphs writer lobbying for a productive out?!

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    • marlins12 says:

      If Puig would’ve hustled back to the dugout, it would’ve clearly shown that he was ready for the big leagues!

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      • David says:

        Spot on man. I thought this was a Tom Verducci article for a minute. So stupid.

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        • wobatus says:

          The fangraph commementeriat is pretty touchy about hederodox opinions. No amount of caveats pretty explicit in the article prevent y’all from acting like Mike is just espousing old-school nonsense which you yourselves probably believed pre-fangraps and Fire Joe Morgan.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Yes, because that productive out would have increased his RE24 more than a K did.

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  13. l1ay says:

    Puig’s single was in the sixth with Pederson on second and no out. Down 4-0, there was little reason for him not to “grip it and rip it.”

    Based on the tone of your entire article, I get the impression you feel his single was even a disappointment because he didn’t swing for the fences? I hope I’m wrong about that but this article is just ridiculously over the top either way.

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  14. BrianB says:

    Swap out the names, and this sounds like Kevin Towers writing about Justin Upton. Good thing he got rid of Upton……..

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    • Wobatus says:

      Or maybe like some folks said about Lastings Milledge.

      Yasiel Puig doesn’t have Justin Upton’s track record yet.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Or Ruben Rivera, or Delmon Young.

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        • wobatus says:

          Or thus far in his career, Brett Lawrie. Different issues but he has been known to get pissed with the umps and is struggling. Still time to turn it around of course. Or you have Colby Rasmus. Folks thought it was LaRussa being old school with him but he simply seemed to regress as a hitter or couldn’t make progress despite being extremely talented. Althoughnin his case it may be his father who has the maturity issues.

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    • TiensyGohan says:

      I don’t remember Justin Upton having a reputation for showing up the umpire and flipping bats during batting practice a few months into his professional career. Notwithstanding some nitpicking, the article isn’t exactly fabricating non-existent character issues.

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  15. Nate says:

    What this author is not telling us is that either Puig got drafted right in front of him in his fantasy league, so he is ghouling him…or he can’t pry him away from a rival owner with feeble offers and is trying to devalue him.

    Does he need to grow up? Yes. We already knew that. We have seen the bat flipping and know about speeding. At least he didn’t charge the opposing dugout with a bat (where is the article on Soler by the way…) Did we need a blow by blow of his game overanalyzing everything except when he adjusted himself…no.

    Anyone who spent time watching the WBC over the years sees that the demonstrative nature of Latin baseball pushes all “acceptable norms” of MLB, yet somehow when the real season starts everyone grows up. Puig is a kid who just got paid a lot of money after leaving an oppressed country. Let’s cut him a little slack and give him the benefit of the doubt that like his baseball brothers from the Dominican and other Latin American countries that he will adjust.

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  16. Tom Verducci says:

    I approve of this article.

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  17. John says:

    And let me guess Mr. Newman, Puig probably picked his nose and ate it too. Perhaps he even didn’t wash his hands after going #2. Shame on Puig for being upset with himself for not being able to help his team win lol.

    There once was a baseball player in 2006 who was harassed by two fans in left field with 20 signs making fun of him. Because he wouldn’t come over and sign an autograph during practice, warmup or after the games. So he was heckled. This player did not hustle back and forth from the dugout. He wouldn’t play catch with his teammates while his pitcher warmed up. He opted only once to play catch with the ball girl. And when the taunting got too much for this player, he got pulled out of the game and sat by himself in the dugout. For this guy, Barry Bonds, it was all about him and not about the fans, like me. He and Ruth were tied for most career home runs and he was slumping. And his head was in his hands on the bench. He never even acknowledged his teammates the whole series against the Brewers at Miller Park.

    Bonds played 23 years in the majors and did just fine. So will Puig.

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    • wobatus says:

      Maybe Yasiel Puig is as good as Barry Bonds. Or maybe he will be like thousands of talented guys who failed. Karim Garcia had better numbers at a younger age at a higher level than Puig. He never did much in the majors. Maybe just because he didn’t have the ability, maybe because he never developed his talents. Puig hasn’t had a full career of massive success like Bonds already had under his belt in 2006.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      You know what, when Yasiel Puig has tied Babe Ruth’s career home run total, he is more than welcome to act like this.

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      • Jason B. says:

        I know you were just responding to the Bonds comparison that John made, but I don’t like the assertion that if you perform really well then you’re entitled to act like a douchebag.

        We accept it (or at least overlook it) more from superstars than from scrubs, true, but I don’t think it’s ever really justified.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          I meant something more along the lines that “John” can claim that Puig’s character issues are irrelevant to his production once he starts producing in the major leagues.

          Until then it’s stupid to compare a 22 year old in AA to the second best baseball player of all time.

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  18. JuanPierreDoesSteroids says:

    Puig wRC+ this year: 169.

    Puig TWTW+ this year: 45.

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  19. Homer says:

    Puig was a jerk on May 8th. . . so he isn’t ready for the show. C’mon.

    More than a few of the best players in the game are insufferably selfish, narcissistic chumps. That doesn’t make them less worthy of playing major league baseball. It simply affords us even greater appreciation for those athletes who don’t lose all of their humility in their success.

    Just tell me he’s a jerk — that’s good to know. But please don’t tell me that he’s not ready for the MLB on that basis.

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  20. Ruki Motomiya says:

    Sounds like a bit of overreaciton in the comments. I don’t see why maturity cannot be a part of MLB success: Take a player who is likely to be easily frustrated. I would argue they are more likely to press or otherwise let their anger cloud their judgment (say, during swings at borderline pitches), which DOES effect their actual ability. I am pretty sure (but not 100%) than psychology generally shows that people do better at jobs when in a happy enviroment and relaxed than in a harsher one (Struggling dodgers) and angry (Like Puig shows me may need). While one game is a SSS, it is still an example of potential issues to be monitored over a larger sample size and is self-described as nitpicking.

    Why is Yasiel even being considered for a callup this early? Yeah, he’s doing good in AA, but he’s only seen 33 games there while having a sharp walk rate drop. He ain’t ready for MLB. Put him in AAA.

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  21. snoop LION says:

    If its nitpicking, why mention it? The autograph things a cheap shot too, I have seen players be FAR more rude than what you have described, its seems unfair to single him out and assassinate his character like that.

    Also many hitters survive with an aggressive “non thinking” approach. It works for them because it reduces the clutter in their mind while hitting, don’t judge his approach until he reaches a stumbling block, which he may not even in the big leagues.

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    • snoop LION says:

      and no I don’t think he should be called up now. But this is still a terrible article nonetheless.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Good point. After all, look how we’ll things have gone for Delmon Young with that approach.

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      • snoop LION says:

        After all, look how well things have gone for Gary Sheffield with that approach.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Gary Sheffield? The guy with a 13.5% BB rate and more walks than strikeouts for his career? The one who had less than have of Puig’s current K rate as a 19 year old in the MLB? That Gary Sheffield?

          Don’t compare Yasiel Puig to Gary Sheffield; for Puig’s sake.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Just for reference:
          Gary Sheffield’s stats in AA: .314/.386/.591, 11.9 K%, 10.2 BB%
          Yasiel Puig’s stats in AA: .305/.378/.555, 17.5 K%, 8.4 BB%

          The key difference? Sheffield was 19 years old. Puig is 22.

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        • snoop LION says:

          Yes, because that was his argument was it?

          I was basing it off HIS arguments and how people PERCEIVED Gary Sheffield. Idiot.

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        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          You compared their approaches, I showed you that Gary Sheffield had a much, much better approach, in every single way.

          If people perceived Gary Sheffield the way they perceive Yasiel Puig, they had a stupid, incorrect perception because Sheffield had better plate discipline, and a better approach, as a 19 year old than Puig does now.

          Comparing him to Delmon Young’s .336/.386/.582 line, with a 6.9 BB% and a 17.8 K% as a 19 year old in AA, is, on the other hand, appropriate.

          …Idiot.

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  22. Dave S says:

    Probably the worst article I’ve read on this site. News flash, author, admitting to nitpicking doesn’t mean it becomes a good thing to do.

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  23. Modcity says:

    Case-in-point: In one Spring Training game, he started his slide for second base adjacent to the pitching mound and was a body length away when he was tagged out…but he was 4-5 and hit for the cycle. Off the field, he was arrested for reckless driving…when he was the designated driver. He’s a Mindfuck and I just don’t know if there are enough Mr. Miyagi’s in LA to ameliorate Han-Ram’s attitude, Dee Gordon propensity to make routine fielding blunders AND Puig’s naivety of the harshness that the Big Show and Media will deal him. Maturity doesn’t necessarily come with determination, or playing years, it is learned through all different experiences and mentors. A leader needs to step up in the Dodger clubhouse (ex: 2012 A’s with Jonny Gomes and CoCo Crisp) and show Puig the kind of effort he needs to put forth when playing at the highest level (ex: Matt Kemp giving away his gear to Autistic fan in SF; Kershaw’s methodical bullpen sessions). This article points out Puig’s potential Achilles’, but fails to provide any solution. Is he just going to wake up in 10 months and suddenly be ready for the Show? There is definite cause for concern, but this much criticism this early in his career and I’d play the Vladi Card and just pretend I didn’t speak
    English if I were him.

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  24. SerMonty says:

    Can’t say whether or not Puig will succeed in the Majors. I’m not a scout.

    But it sure does tickle me that part of the reason we’re talking about Puig right now is that Ethier is on the outs for being a no-hustle hothead.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      Ha! Solid point. The guy Puig would replace is in the same situation we’re worried Puig behavior suggests. 30HR power with character issues…

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  25. IDrago says:

    Put a Milo on him.

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  26. Cool Lester Smooth says:

    Great article, Mike, even if a full squadron of Fangraphs’ know-nothing party, or at least the Dodgers fans among them, seems to be on the prowl.

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  27. jsolid says:

    The biggest problem is that bat toss. Umpires are not going to like that. Especially from a 22-year-old making free-agent dollars. He will not get a single borderline call, whether Jose Molina is catching or not. And that will impact his performance. And then, that rep may take years to shake.

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  28. Ivdown says:

    .316/.390/.603 after a 2 home run game yesterday.

    I think he’ll be fine.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Because minor league stats for someone who has been playing in a league that is roughly the equivalent of High-A for the last 4 years are definitely the most important tool of evaluation.

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      • Wobatus says:

        Brett Lawrie at age 21 in AAA,

        .353/.415/.661.

        Some thought he was arrogant.

        He has not done all that great in the majors, with a couple of incidents showing up or getting angry with umps over strike calls, and recently yelled at Adam Lind and a 3rd base coach because Lind didn’t tag on a Lawrie flyball down 2 runs in the 9th.

        That type of issue may have nothing to do with Lawrie’s struggles, and each player is unique, but this is one thing to look for in trying to see if a guy is ready or has the maturity to handle the big jump from the minors to the majors.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          I was being sarcastic.

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        • Wobatus says:

          Oh, I know Cool Les. I was just giving an example where AA stats and a reputation as an argumentative arrogant hot head didn’t bode well, at least for now. I tend to agree with what you have been arguing. These issues are things to monitor until the player proves otherwise by major league performance.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Just making sure, since a lot of people here seem to actually believe that.

          I don’t want to lose any internet points, after all.

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  29. steve says:

    This is a great anaylsis on why a potenially great baseball player is actually keeping himself out of consideration to be called up. This kind of immaturity is exactly why a lot of guys spend more time than they feel they should in the minors. More often than not, it’s a maturing process. These guys are 20-22 years old…they have been playing the game since they were 5…they “KNOW” the rules and how to play. That said, it’s a different code of conduct in the the Majors. And THAT more than any other reason is why Puig hasn’t been called up. He’s a big, self-centered baby with a sense of entitlement. And that is exactly the point Mike Newman made in this article. Good job.

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  30. Frank says:

    Remember when people questioned Miguel Cabrera’s maturity? Who cares? Get them into the best situation with the best care (which is at the MLB level) and let them showcase their talents. Puig is young, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t twice the ball player a guy like Ethier is. The fact is if the kid plays well, people will love him, especially his teammates and fans, and really that’s all you need to succeed.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Miguel Cabrera was younger than Puig at the time and had already proven himself an effective major leaguer when character concerns began popping up.

      Newman’s job is to look at every factor that may contribute to or detract from Yasiel Puig’s success in the big leagues. His maturity level, or lack thereof, is unquestionably one of those factors.

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      • Frank says:

        The kid raking in games should not be determined by his “character”. Aroldis Chapman also had a crazy speeding ticket when he arrived. There are customs they are not quite used to. The point is these guys are MLB READY, not like a high school product that needs more seasoning. Cubans are treated much differently than the Japanese that are slightly older and thrown right into immediate roles like Ryu, Darvish, Nomo, etc. For some reason Yoenis Cespedes was not enough of an example that rookie Cuban OF are ready for the big time. Same goes for Soler. Both are going to be beasts and would be NOW if they just were given a chance to be.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Cespedes was 26 years old. Puig is 22, Soler is 20. There’s a big, big difference.

          And, again, Puig is advanced for this level of competition. He’s not getting significantly better results than Delmon Young did as a 19 year old, and we all know how that turned out. Minor League stats aren’t everything, and the Dodgers are keeping him down for a reason other than some supposed bias against Cuban born players.

          Again, you really can’t scout a box score, no matter how much I’m sure you’d like to.

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  31. Frank says:

    Puig hasn’t been called up by management. If Mattingly had his choice he would have made the team out of spring training and he would have cut a player like Ethier to do so. I would take the baseball opinion of a guy like Don Mattingly over the political / money based decision that a GM would take every time when you are evaluating talent and trying to talk yourself into saying that Ethier deserves to be there instead of biting the bullet AKA money. While they will not get anything for him and eat money in the process, the production they would gain with Puig or even Pederson for that matter would be much greater. That cost can be offset just by getting Puig on the team and selling more tickets and merchandise! Make the move already.

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  32. Dodger Blue!!! says:

    When you put him around a group of professionals that have been playing for years like agon,crawford,Hanley, and Kemp who have gone through the same thing as young stars will help. Hanley has been know for doing a lot of immature things but since hes come over from miami, i haven’t heard or seen a glimpse of immaturity.

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  33. homer says:

    You really think the Dodgers are going to pay Puig 6 mil per season to play in the minors ?

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  34. Ron S says:

    This was an interesting assessment. Yes, it seemed harsh but I was curious because Puig is now in the Majors and appeared to jog out a ground ball. He was then removed because he has a hip injury. The hip injury wasn’t causing problems in the field. As of this moment he has only hit .262 over his last 10 games after starting off in blazing fashion—hitting over .400 for most of his MLB debut.

    The bat toss video says a lot. I had to pause it to see that the umpire made the right call. So, if that’s his response when the umpire gets it right, my hunch is there will be more problems for him in the Majors.

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