Look at that monster. Yikes.
He’s more of a Bo Jackson baseball comp than that of Justin Upton (another guy who we’ve used the Bo Jackson comp for in the past, incorrectly). And doesn’t it make a MLB debut all that much better when it happens late night at Dodger Stadium and Vin Scully is telling the story? Yes, yes it does.
Yasiel Puig is one of the more largely anticipated debuts in recent memory. If you’re a baseball fan and you’re thinking about turning in early tonight to benefit your energy level for the rest of the week – you best think again. Turn down the lights and watch the debut of Yasiel Puig at Dodger Stadium.
Don’t be a late arrival, either. Puig is batting leadoff tonight.
The Bo Jackson comps are unfair and sensational, but the physical gifts imparted by Puig’s robust physical frame allow for such hyperbole. Puig is an athletic beast, with inside linebacker size and wide receiver speed. In spring training, Jason Cole clocked the 250-pound outfielder at 4.04 home-to-first from the right side of the plate, which is plus-plus territory for those scoring at home. Humans Puig’s size aren’t supposed to run sub-4.1 times from the right side. It throws off the balance of the world.
In addition to his thick, muscular frame, Puig has legit baseball tools and some feel for his craft. Despite an upper body that suggests he bench-presses small automobiles, Puig has a fluid swing at the plate that is conducive to both contact and power, a rare combination indeed. He has a vigorous appetite for fastballs and will look to drive the ball with authority early in counts, showing a short path to the ball and ideal length at the point of extension. With good lift and leverage built into the swing, Puig has over-the-fence power, and some scouts haven’t been shy about putting an elite grade on his raw pop.
Puig could be a monster offensive force, but the major league book on him has yet to be written, and high-end arms may find ways to exploit him. As the fastballs over the plate turn into exploding secondary stuff wearing a convincing disguise, can Puig adjust? The raw bat-to-ball ability is there, but you can’t simulate the quality of talent found in the majors at the minor league level, so the report on Puig is still abstract.
With easy plus speed and major league quality coordination, Puig can handle the demands of center field, although his reads and routes still need refinement. The arm will play in either corner and can be a weapon once he learns to harness his strength and improve his carry and accuracy. The glory will come from the offensive attack, as the potential cocktail could reach lethal levels intoxication; contact, power, and speed all coming from an intimidating physical package and presence. If he hits his mark—which isn’t a given, as there are still many unknowns about his game—Puig could be an all-star at the major league level, a middle-of-the-order monster with a cathedral ceiling.
Even if Puig ends up not being able to hit curveball very much he’s still got one of the most fun names to say in baseball.