Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past two months, you’ve seen, or at least heard the name, Yasiel Puig.
Puig Mania is taking over across Major League Baseball and the sports world. Anything from the hashtag on Twitter “#VivaPuig” or “#BatFlip” to fan customized shirts, memes across the internet, Sports Center talking about him almost a fourth as much as Tim Tebow… you get the point, he’s a big deal.
With all the Puig Mania going on, and his statistics though, he is still brought up as someone who doesn’t belong in this year’s MLB All-Star game though. Why? The guy put up rookie numbers that have only been seen once before from some guy named Joe Dimaggio, that you may have heard of. The only valid argument is that he hasn’t had the amount of games or at bats to deserve to be voted in. This however, doesn’t make sense one bit to me. Why?
While making my ballot, I almost laughed at a name that popped up in the American League side of the ballot at the second base position, Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles. Now I understand that Roberts is a gem of a player, and is in my personal opinion, one of the best in the game at second, but… Roberts has only played in FIVE games this season. He has 18 at bats meaning he is averaging 3.6 at bats in those five games, and here’s the dinger for you. Howie Kendrick is batting .323 over 82 games this season (3rd in American League), and has less votes than Roberts, and actually didn’t make the top six in voting for AL second basemen. How is that fair? Roberts, who has 5 games over the entire season, has more votes than a guy who is only trailing Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis in batting average… WHAT?!
Now we’re not arguing about Kendrick or other players, we’re arguing about Puig. But what about those that have around the same number or less games/at bats as Puig? Jose Reyes is the fifth top voted shortstop in the American League, and he has only played in 17 games this season. How about Josh Hamilton being the fifth voted right fielder in the American League? It almost seems like a joke, which is the way I’m starting to think voters make it. If guys like Domonic Brown, Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, Hunter Pence, and Andrew McCutchen don’t make the cut, but guys like Justin Upton and Matt Holliday can, well I just don’t understand. How about Michael Cuddyer who just had a 27 game hit streak snapped along with the best batting average by any outfielder in baseball (other than Puig), why shouldn’t he make it? Cuddyer isn’t even in the top 15 in voting for NL outfielders.
Now I have no disrespect for Josh Hamilton, Jose Reyes, Justin Upton, or Matt Holliday. I think all are very special players in their own way. I had Reyes and Upton on my first ballot back when voting started, but Reyes is hurt and has nowhere near the at bats Puig does. Upton just doesn’t have the stats that everyone else in the voting ranks has, particularly Puig. Josh Hamilton, well he’s a great guy, but gosh, what a joke to vote him into the All-Star game. It’s almost laughable at how poorly he’s doing this season with the money he’s making.
I think the biggest argument/comparison is with Bryce Harper though. Here is a statistical breakdown of the two players (Harper and Puig):
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS PA
Harper 46 158 30 44 7 1 13 24 26 32 2 2 .278 .378 .582 .961 187
Puig 27 106 21 47 6 1 8 17 4 22 4 2 .443 .473 .745 1.218 112
So with all that to look at from a personal stand point, do you feel that Harper belongs in the All-Star game instead of Puig? Puig has three more hits in 52 less at bats. If you break down what Puig has done per game, his stats blow Harper’s out of the water. Now I’m not trying to put Harper down, the kid is talented and very well could be the future of Major League Baseball. Personally, I feel like he should be in the All-Star talk, but not half as much as Yasiel Puig.
Puig hasn’t had enough time necessarily for the votes to come in, especially when he has to be written in for every vote he receives, but doesn’t it seem like he deserves the recognition of being an All-Star? For those doubters who say Puig’s stats are just too small of a sample size, go ahead and choose not to vote for Puig, but I strongly believe that in two or three months, you’ll realize what a mistake you have made. The All-Star game is about the excitement of the BEST and most TALENTED players in MLB to represent their teams, fans, and leagues. I think it is only fitting that Puig, who is exciting, talented, and possibly the best rookie to be a part of this special game, and represent the Dodgers as an organization, the Dodgers fans, and the National League.
My final All-Star ballot:
C – Joe Mauer, Minnesota
1B – Chris Davis, Baltimore
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Boston
3B – Manny Machado, Baltimore
SS – Jedd Lowrie, Oakland
OF – Mike Trout, LA Angels
OF – Adam Jones, Baltimore
OF – Torii Hunter, Detroit
DH – Mark Trumbo, LA Angels
WI – Howie Kendrick, LA Angels
(purposefully did not vote Miguel Cabrera in, simply because he is the best player in baseball, the votes will come for him despite my vote)
C – Yadier Molina, St. Louis
1B – Joey Votto, Cincinnati
2B – Marco Scutaro, San Francisco
3B – David Wright, NY Mets
SS – Jean Segura, Milwaukee
OF – Michael Cuddyer, Colorado
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
OF – Carlos Beltran, St. Louis
WI – Yasiel Puig, LA Dodgers
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