Yasiel Puig, All Star Worthy
This week will conclude the fan vote for the All-Star game to be held at the house of Baseball New York, Jr. (my official designation for the Mets, who will eternally suffer the same fates as the Jets, Islanders, and Nets as “that other team” in N.Y. sports), and we will finally have an official answer to one of the most burning questions in baseball for the last few weeks. (Editors Note, the Nets are very much in contention to make a real run at NY relevance, but the Mets are still a goof.)
Is Yasiel Puig an All-Star?
The arguments from both sides of the isle are valid. Those that argue against him being an All-Star claim that he hasn’t been in the majors long enough, that he plays on a .500 team, that he’s only getting consideration because he’s in a big market. Those that argue for him being included in the Midsummer Classic say that he’s a breath of fresh air in a game that is getting stale, that his numbers are incredible for the time he has been in the majors.
Actually, both sides are right.
Puig has been in the majors for all of 34 games. The baseball guy in me screams, “Callups in August get about that same amount of time! What makes him so special?”
The fan in me screams, “Do you see what he does on a nightly basis? He scored from second on a groundout to first!”
Yes, the Dodgers are only a .500 team, entering play on Thursday at 45-45…but that record puts them only 1.5 games out of first place, trailing Arizona in what has to be one of baseball’s worst divisions. Before Puig arrived, the Dodgers were 23-32. That means with him, they’re 22-13. Yes, the Dodgers have the luxury of being in a big market and having the means to toss money at anything and everything, including a big PR push for Puig. Has he not earned it though? His 2.7 WAR is better than the best WAR player on 9 teams. His numbers are incredible for the short time he’s been in the majors, and the stats show that it can be sustained to a high level. He has all the tools.
What is it good for?
Most importantly, he makes people pay attention.
Isn’t that what you want your All-Stars to do the most? You want players who make the casual fan go, “I have to watch this guy.” He does something impressive at least once every few days. Yes, he rubs fellow players the wrong ways at times, with glaring at the opposing player when he makes outs and playing the game with a swagger that borders on arrogance. Yet I remember another athlete that played the game the same way, with that same feel of “I dare you to beat me.”
Yes, it is far too early to say that he’ll have the impact in baseball that Jordan did in basketball, but he evokes the same feelings of watching something so great you have to question if it’s real. Puig is exactly the type of player MLB needs to help close the gap between them and the two most popular sports in America, football and basketball. Baseball is prominently in the headlines for steroids currently and this gives baseball a chance to be in the news for something else that isn’t negative.
Baseball may not want Puig, but it needs Puig.
Chris is an Indy based writer. He recieved one vote for the All-Star Game. Jim Derochea cast it.