When a ball player tallies 44 hits in his first month in the majors – a debut second only to Joe DiMaggio’s record 48 – does that mean he merits a spot in the All-Star Game?
That’s the debate surrounding Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 22-year-old rookie outfielder. Since his promotion on June 3, the Cuban extraordinaire has worked up a .436 batting average and .467 on-base percentage, National League bests.
The entire west coast baseball fan base, at least, is watching how Puig will follow up a June with seven home runs, 19 runs scored, 13 extra-base hits, 12 RBI and four stolen bases. But some argue a historic month isn’t enough to reward Puig with an All-Star Game appearance on fast-approaching July 16, over more seasoned contenders.
Just last year, though, Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper made the 2012 NL All-Star team, becoming the youngest position player to be selected at age 19. His debut, April 28, 2012, gave him only about a month more to prove himself worthy of the exhibition as compared to Puig now.
Harper got plenty of congratulations for the honor and won NL Rookie of the Year later that season with a .270 batting average, 22 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Returning after a month on the disabled list with a .286 batting average and 13 hone runs, Harper remains a favorite for this years All-Star Game.
Puig inevitably also gets juxtaposed with American League’s 2012 Rookie of the Year, Mike Trout. The 21-year-old outfielder with the local rivals Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won the title with a .326 batting average, 30 home runs and 129 runs scored.
This year, Trout is hitting .315 with a .392 on-base percentage, 13 home runs, 52 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases.
Puig’s appearance in the All-Star Game might be based as much on politics as on statistics, though.
Bruce Bochy, the San Francisco Giants’ skipper in charge of managing the NL All-Stars, has said Puig’s lack of tenure will make it difficult to include him on the roster, according to Yahoo! Sports. Factor in or not, the fact is Puig plays for the rival Dodgers.
The happy medium seems to be that Puig should at least be included in the final vote ballot to select the final All-Star in each league.
For more information on the Los Angeles Dodgers, follow me on Twitter @JessicaGKwong as well as ValleyBayNews.com @ValleyBayNews.