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

Prep Football Picks: Week One

Saturday's Sixteen: College Football Picks

  College football with all its pomp and pageantry is finally here with a long weekend of games starting tonight. SEC has two conference games as Arkansas visits Auburn and Texas A&M is at South Carolina … Georgia-Clemson should be a great game, Utah State could give Tennessee a battle and Louisiana Monroe will be waiting at home to beat Wake Forest. Here ... (click for more)

School Board Unanimously Makes Cuts To Teacher Insurance; Spouses Can Only Stay On If They Have No Other Insurance

The Hamilton County School Board on Thursday night voted to Increase the premium for spouses by $100 - a move officials said would save the schools from $2,040,000 to $3,040,000. Spouses will not continue to be covered if they have insurance available to them on their jobs. School officials said the 1,700 spouses on county school insurance last year had $10 million in claims. ... (click for more)

City Audit Hits Travel Abuses By Top Chattanooga Library Personnel; Report Forwarded To State On Possible Fraud

A report by Internal City Auditor Stan Sewell found travel abuses by top personnel of the Chattanooga Library. The auditor said he found possible instances of fraud and forwarded information to state officials in regard to "reported potential fraudulent activity" by Margaret Backus, Systems Administrator and Nathaniel Hill, Assistant Library Director. The report says, ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)