At less than one full season in Major League Baseball, Yasiel Puig has turned into a full-fledged rock star. He’s hit walk-off home runs at home for the Dodgers; been arrested for driving 110 mph in Miami; and been benched numerous times for careless play and irresponsible behavior. In that respect, he’s more rock ‘n’ roll outlaw than Beatles 1963.
Nonetheless, ask any baseball fan who they would like to see play most and you’ll hear the majority answer, “Yasiel Puig, please.” ‘Puig Fatigue’ is unlikely to set in any time soon. Just when you think he’s become the grown-up ballplayer your grandpop would respect, he forgets where he is at Citi Field and nearly drills his teammate with a throw after the inning had ended; just when you think it’s time for a hug, Adrian Gonzalez can be seen yelling at Puig outside the dugout.
In other words, the Puig train will keep rolling as long as the Dodgers right-fielder stays healthy. Here are five reasons baseball fans are hoping it doesn’t stop.
1. Puig’s unbridled athleticism
Everyone has seen what one-dimensional players can do. Hitting 50 home runs or playing great defense is nice, but what about a player that can make diving catches, gun down runners at the plate, steal bases, and hit .335 at the same time? Puig’s untamed athleticism makes these feats capable, often within the span of a few innings. Baseball fans are getting a feel for what it was like to watch Willie Mays play in his prime. MLB superstar Mike Trout is so polished you can forget the otherworldly ability lurking underneath his exterior. With Puig, it’s often his mistakes that deliver the most excitement.
In that respect, it is almost too bad Puig plays for a contender. If he were allowed to unleash his athleticism without regard for winning ball games, the Puig show would reach even more epic heights.