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


PHOTOS: Boyd-Buchanan Blanks Hixson, 3-0

Covenant Women's Soccer Picked 3rd In Division In USA South Preseason Poll

Coming off its best season in the USA South, the Covenant women's soccer team has been picked to finish third in the West Division as the league released its preseason coaches' poll on Wednesday. Covenant tallied one first place vote in the division and 39 total points. Piedmont totaled six first place votes and 48 points, while Maryville was second with 41 points and one top ... (click for more)

Opposing Sides Expected To Show Up For Coolidge Park Rally Thursday Night; Some Urged To "Bring Your Guns"

Chattanooga Police said they will be closely monitoring an organized rally at Coolidge Park on Thursday that may draw some of the same opposing sides that clashed - with deadly result - in Charlottesville, Va. The rally is set for 7:30 p.m. and initially was  in memory of a woman who was killed in the angry Virginia confrontation that initially began over a decision to ... (click for more)

Owners Of Larger Structures In Walker County To Pay More For Fire, Ambulance Service; Full-Time Fire Stations Increase From 4-6

Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield announced plans on Wednesday to update the county's fire fee schedule to offer improvements in fire protection and public safety efforts. The fee will now be known as a "public safety" fee and will fund fire and emergency management operations, along with contracted ambulance services.   The county will replace the existing ... (click for more)

Shame On Anyone Planning A Protest At Coolidge Park Thursday Evening - And Response

Whether you're Alt-Left or Alt-Right, Coolidge Park isn't the place to showcase your hate and indifference with one another. Just because it's your right, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should do it. Many have this misconception that this park is named after a President, Nope. It's named after a great man, a true patriot, and Medal of Honor recipient from right ... (click for more)

A Tale Of 3 Properties

Here in Lookout Valley on the far southwest edge of Chattanooga and Hamilton County, trees and rocks are plentiful but sidewalks are as rare as unicorns. It’s a land the governments forget – until tax collection time.  The recent county reappraisal spoke about ‘comps,’ recent sale prices of comparable local properties. But the assessors defined ‘comparable’ to suit themselves, ... (click for more)