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

McCallie's Bubba Simmons Steps Down as A.D.

C.R. “Bubba” Simmons  has announced plans to step down from his position as Athletic Director at McCallie School and accept the position of principal at Gordon Lee High School. Mr. Simmons took the helm of the school’s athletic department in 2008. Over the course of his career, which includes two previous stints, Mr. Simmons has served McCallie for almost 20 years. ... (click for more)

Biggest Crowd Ever At Boyd's Speedway On Tuesday Night

In what can only be described as the biggest crowd ever at Boyd's Speedway, the Schaeffer’s Oil: Southern Nationals Series presented by Old Man’s Garage was a huge success Tuesday night with NASCAR drivers Ty & Austin Dillon. With over 90 racecars, four divisions of competition and a packed general admssion grand stand area, racers from 9-states and 1-country (Australia) the ... (click for more)

Cleveland City Council To Hold Special Meeting On Naming New City Judge

The Cleveland City Council will hold a special called meeting next Monday to consider an interim appointment of a city judge. It will be at 11:45 a.m. at the City Council’s regular meeting place in the Cleveland Municipal Building, 190 Church Street, NE. The council will also establish the process for application for city judge. Longtime City Judge Bill Moss died July ... (click for more)

13,830 Have Voted Early In Hamilton County

There have been 13,830 to vote early in Hamilton County thus far, including 10,233 who asked for Republican ballots and 3,447 who asked for Democratic ballots. The totals for Tuesday included: ABSENTEE/BY MAIL Ballot Type - D 81 Ballot Type - G 63 Ballot Type - R 193 Location Totals 337 BRAINERD REC CTR Ballot Type - D 1,442 Ballot Type - G 2 Ballot Type ... (click for more)

Thankful For Senators Alexander And Corker's Support Of The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Fleet - And Response (2)

America’s national security at home and abroad is important to all of us.  So it is very important to recognize and thank our leaders when they show strong support for our military. That’s why I am writing to thank Senators Alexander and Corker for their continued commitment to our great state, our nation, and especially to our military.  Their support ensures that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Scottsboro’s Pat Trammell

I got a warm feeling Tuesday when it was announced Pat Trammell will be among those in the inaugural class of the Jackson County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame. When the august group is enshrined at Scottsboro’s Goose Pond Civic Center on Nov. 1, most folks won’t even know who Pat Trammell was but I knew all about him in my very first year as a fledgling sports writer back in 1967 and, ... (click for more)