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: East Hamilton Notches Dramatic Win Over Walker Valley

Covenant Drops Pair To No. 9 Emory

Playing against one of the top Division III teams in the country, the Covenant softball team was unable to get anything going against two top pitchers and succumbed to No. 9 Emory 14-0 and 9-1 in a doubleheader Tuesday. The games drop Covenant to 9-13 on the year and continues a losing streak that now stands at six games in a row. Emory is now 24-2 for the season and have won ... (click for more)

Officials Expect MLK Boulevard Mural To Be Big Draw; Artist Apprentices To Be Hired For Project

Officials said Tuesday they expect a massive mural planned on a tall MLK Boulevard building by a renowned muralist will be a big draw for the area. City Councilman Moses Freeman said, "This is going to be a destination point. People are going to come here to see it. I guarantee it." He added, "She's world-renowned. We're going to be famous by having her work here." The ... (click for more)

Haslam Adds K-12 Funds In Budget Amendment

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday unveiled additions to the FY 2015-2016 budget that will be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks, including added funding for K-12. The governor last week met with school superintendents from the largest systems in the state over the issue of state funding for K-12. The next day, the Hamilton County Schools joined ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)