Since being called up to the majors in June, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has taken both Major League Baseball and the Dodgers by storm, while leading Los Angeles on a tear that has the team currently sitting only 2.5 games out of first place in the NL West. The Dodgers were previously 11 games back and in last place in the division.
Puig has played a large part in the Dodgers’ recent run, compiling a .443 batting average to go along with eight home runs and 17 RBI’s during his month in the majors. One of the main reasons for Puig’s lack of RBI’s considering that the phenom has those 8 HR’s, is the fact that he has been entrenched in the second spot in the order, rather than being moved to the fourth or fifth spot.
Nevertheless, Puig has continued his torrent pace and has made the Dodgers’ struggles, in which manager Don Mattingly’s job status appeared to be in dire straights, a thing of the past. The majority of baseball fans have at least pondered the option that Puig should be a MLB All Star due to his performance, however Philadelphia Phillies’ closer Jonathan Papelbon does not agree, according to his comments on MLB Network Radio.
“To me, it’s an absolute joke. It’s really kind of stupid if you ask me. The guy’s got a month, I don’t even think he’s got a month in the big leagues. Just comparing him to this and that, and saying he’s going to make the All Star team, that’s a joke to me. It’s just really what happens in baseball when… to me it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight-, nine-, 10-plus years. It kind of does them an injustice because they’ve worked so hard to stay there.”
Despite Papelbon’s argument, Puig deserves a spot in the All Star Game due to the fact that he is one of the most highly productive outfielders in the National League. Take St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday for example.
Holliday has a .267 average with 11 home runs and 41 RBI’s to his credit. These numbers are comparable to Puig’s, runs batted in included. Holliday has been a mainstay in the middle of St. Louis’ order this season, and when you factor in that Puig has only played 26 games compared to Holliday’s 77 in addition to Holliday having more opportunities to drive in runs due to him being in the middle of the order, it makes Puig’s production all the more impressive because he is having an All Star caliber half season in only roughly one month rather than the usual three.
Also, Papelbon’s argument that Puig’s All Star Game berth would be an “injustice” to the veteran players is besides the point.
An annual All Star Game, by definition, is supposed to celebrate the talent that a sport has to offer for only that particular season, not an entire career. When you just at the 2013 season, Puig is one of the best players in the majors all-around, whether it would be his well-documented power at the plate, his excellent arm from both left and right field, our his speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths.
For the reasons listed above, Puig deserves a berth in the 2013 MLB All Star Game and Papelbon’s comments are rather questionable.