2013 Lookout Yasiel Puig Edged Out As NL Rookie Of The Year

Pitcher Jose Fernandez Wins The Award

Monday, November 11, 2013
Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig
- photo by Tim Evearitt
If making an impact from the moment of your Major League debut until the final game of the season was a key consideration for a Rookie of the Year Award winner, consider Yasiel Puig. Monday night, Marlins' pitcher Jose Fernandez easily beat Puig and Cardinals' hurler Shelby Miller in the voting for the NL ROY.

He was promoted from the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts on June 3. The Dodgers were in last place. He was an immediate late-night highlight reel. He hit four homers in his first five games. By the end of the month, Puig not only was the National League Rookie of the Month, but also the NL Player of the Month -- the first player to win both awards in his first month in the Major Leagues.

The Dodgers were en route to the greatest in-season turnaround in franchise history and it didn't happen only because of Puig, but it wouldn't have happened without him, either.

Puig hit .436 with a .713 slugging percentage that month. His 44 hits set a Los Angeles Dodgers rookie record for a month and were second all-time behind Joe DiMaggio's 48.

Understandably, Puig couldn't keep up that pace and finished the season hitting .319 with 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games. The club was 66-38 in games he played. His average was the highest for a Dodgers rookie since James Loney's .331 in 2007. The homers were the most for a Dodgers rookie since Mike Piazza's 35 in 1993.

Puig became an immediate fan magnet because he plays with an unbridled energy that sometimes turns reckless, earning the nickname "Wild Horse" from Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. "His energy was infectious," said manager Don Mattingly.

It also earns him occasional scoldings from teammates and staff for fundamental mistakes that are inevitable when a player is rushed to the Major Leagues with less than one year of Minor League seasoning.

Puig showed up late to a game in Miami and was fined, having already been benched for a dugout tantrum thrown while he was slumping. Another time, Puig was yanked mid-game for a lack of concentration. He was ejected for his part in an on-field brawl against the D-backs. And he infuriated umpires during the playoffs for showing them up. So, there are still rough edges needing to be smoothed.

But then there's the five-tool talent that a Dodgers prospect hasn't possessed since perhaps Roberto Clemente. Puig's Superman imitation started in Spring Training and continued at Double-A Chattanooga, where he was hitting .313 with eight homers, 12 doubles, three triples, 37 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 40 games.

Puig was signed last summer for a staggering $42 million, seven-year Major League contract. The Cubs were believed to be the Dodgers' most aggressive competition for Puig's autograph. The $42 million was considered by most clubs as wildly excessive, but the Dodgers needed impact hitters in their farm system and wanted to make a statement that the years of ignoring international talent because of economics were over.

With a body like Bo Jackson, Puig possesses power, running speed, ball-catching skills and a powerful right-fielder arm. But with limited exposure as a young Cuban ballplayer, Puig's raw skills were relatively under wraps when he escaped his homeland for free agency.

Puig showed up four years ago on the radar of Dodgers scout Mike Brito, who shared the credit with Corito Verona for the signing of Fernando Valenzuela 3 1/2 decades ago. Brito and current scouting vice president Logan White watched Puig bat in a controlled workout in the summer of 2012 in Mexico City, then White took the ball in a full-court pursuit that resulted in Puig's stunning signing.

--- Source MLB.com

Puig played right field for the Lookouts.
Puig played right field for the Lookouts.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Notre Dame Boys, Girls Tennis Teams Beat Heritage

The Notre Dame boys and girls tennis teams beat Heritage Monday afternoon.  The Lady Irish won 4-1 and the boys won 5-0. Girls Singles: Sarah Faith Ingell (ND) def. Caroline Horsely 8-0 Bowie Strozak (ND) def. Emma Lokey 8-1 Liza Davini (ND) def. Maleah McAlister 8-3 Girls Doubles: Reagan Christol/Katelynn Burns (HH) def. Lilly Schafluetzel/Ellie Gaudin ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Signs Ridgeland's DeSalvo

Georgia Northwestern head basketball coach David Stephenson has coached hundreds of players over the years, but he’s never before coached the son or daughter of a former player.  But that’s about to change.  Ridgeland senior Christina DeSalvo signed with the Lady Bobcats last week, meaning she will play for the same coach that her father, Mike, played for nearly ... (click for more)

State Says "Beef" Between 2 Bloods Gangs Started Over A Female And Led Eventually To Shootings At College Hill Courts

The state presented testimony on Monday about a feud between two Bloods gangs that allegedly eventually led to a 16-year-old shooting up a unit at College Hill Courts - killing one woman, injuring another, leaving a child paralyzed and injuring a member of the other Bloods gang. A city police gang expert said the bitter rift between the Athens Park Bloods based on the Southside ... (click for more)

Search On For Chad Cook, Missing Since Early Monday Morning After Going Dirt Bike Riding On Walden's Ridge

Walden's Ridge Emergency Services has been assisting the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office searching for a missing person from Hamilton County since 10:30 a.m. Monday. Chad Cook, 38, was last heard from by family members at 2 a.m. Monday. Family members reported to Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office personnel around 2 a.m. that he, along with two males and one female, were ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oh Yes, I Loved West

One of my most beloved friends died early Saturday morning at the age of 67. Then again, West Oehmig’s only brother – King – died a couple of years ago at 63 so it wasn’t by happenstance I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s famous line: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Here are two brothers who lived larger than any other pair I can ... (click for more)