Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/16/14
With the Dodgers in last place and Yasiel Puig on fire in Double-A, pressure to call up the Cuban outfielder is building. In his last ten games, the 22-year-old has posted a .395/.465/.658 slash line, including seven extra base hits and six steals. Healthy and productive, Puig is once again knocking on the door to Los Angeles. Earlier in the week, Dave Cameron discussed Andre Ethier being “eminently available” after comments and a benching by Manager Don Mattingly. Combine losing with mammoth contracts and the potential for roster shakeup seems inevitable. No individual stands to gain more than Yasiel Puig if this occurs. But is Puig ready? From a baseball standpoint, yes. From a maturity standpoint, perhaps not. In spring training, the baseball community saw the best of Puig on a daily basis. When one hits .517/.500/.828, there’s really no room for a cold spell. And while this provided a glimpse of his immense ceiling, baseball is ultimately a game of failure. How Puig responds to the inevitable failures that baseball pushes upon him may determine just how good he eventually becomes. I was in attendance to watch Puig on May 8th against the Mobile BayBears (Double-A Arizona Diamondbacks), where he went 1 for 5, with his lone hit being a laser to center field, showing the tools that could make him a star. The rest of the game, however, Puig did nothing but draw negative attention to himself, beginning with a strikeout looking in the first inning. With a 1-0 count, top prospect Archie Bradley attacked Puig with fastballs on the inner half. Three 92-95 mph fastballs later and the right fielder took a slow walk back to the dugout with a runner on second and one out. Bradley is a terrific prospect, but the majors are full of pitchers who can do what Bradley did to Puig in that at-bat. In the third inning, Puig was first pitch swinging with two outs and Joc Pederson on first base. Down four early, it’s a borderline situation to steal considering Pederson’s ability to score from first on an extra base hit and the risk of running into an out. But against a new pitcher, seeing a pitch or two would have afforded Pederson a chance to attempt a steal while Puig worked on timing him. Instead, he rolled over on an 88 mph fastball (a far cry from the 92-95 Bradley was throwing), resulting in a 6-4 force out. Is this nitpicking? Absolutely. And while one could argue this wasn’t an example of explicitly bad baseball, it is the kind of thing that will get nitpicked once he gets to the big leagues and is asked to help turn around a $200 million disappointment. Puig’s single was in the sixth with Pederson on second and no out. Down 4-0, there was little reason for him not to “grip it and rip it.” After a 16-pitch walk by Pederson which included 11 foul balls, Puig faced a new pitcher with two outs and the bases loaded. After fouling off the first pitch, Puig did this after a questionable check swing strike. Puig put the next pitch in play for another ground ball to shortstop to end the inning. Given the way in which he had just shown up the umpire, the ball could have been thrown behind Puig’s head and the umpire might have called strike three. Some umpires would not have even given Puig the chance to see another pitch and ejected him on the spot. Reacting that way to a called strike is simply poor judgment. In the ninth, Puig worked a 3-1 count before grounding out to shortstop again. Late in the game and down by one, not running hard through first base was the stamp on a day where Puig’s body language and effort were simply not a match for his physical talents. Outside of his at bats, Puig was consistently the last player in the dugout between innings and could frequently be seen with his head in hands. In right field, he had the longest distance to run to reach the third base dugout, but breaking a slow jog at the third base line to walk the rest of the way does nothing but draw negative attention. In this particular game, his frustration bubbled over onto the field and presented as immaturity. In fairness, many of us would struggle with similar issues if we had a $42 million dollar contract in hand at 22, and Puig is hardly the only immature kid in professional sports. But, on the big stage of the Major Leagues, this act won’t fly. Even after the game, I witnessed Puig make a pair of kids wait 15 minutes or more for autographs as he toyed with his smartphone 10 feet away. I say “or more” because I was able to move my car, interview Archie Bradley, and the kids were still waiting as I left the ballpark. Both boys were respectful and patient while Puig went about his business like they did not exist. As a professional baseball player, one has to expect every moment at the ballpark will be scrutinized. Baseball players do not develop the skills of a Yasiel Puig without a considerable amount of effort and determination. Without a doubt, the Dodgers outfielder wants to improve and puts pressure on himself to produce. However, he can do this without being the center of attention at all times. After all, he’s talented enough to consistently be the center of attention for all the right reasons.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

49ers FB Bruce Miller charged with vandalism

Report: Winston snubbed ESPN out of draft interview

Report: Some Colts players unhappy with first-round pick

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: Focus is on Julio Jones contract

Irvin on Seahawks not picking up option: ‘F— that option’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Prust rips referee, accuses him of on-ice trash talk

LeBron James ditched headband to look more like teammates

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Marcus Mariota welcomed to Tennessee with billboard

Five takeaways from the first round of the NBA playoffs

NFL has a Los Angeles Rams webpage

10 undrafted free agents who could become NFL stars

WATCH: ESPN reporter calls first First Take a 'train wreck'

Mike Trout criticized for tweet about Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Early 2016 NFL Draft prospect rankings

Life without Love: The new-look Cavaliers

Wizards deserve credit for win, but don't read too much into it

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFL has Los Angeles Rams webpage

10 undrafted free agents to watch

Report: Winston snubbed ESPN

Life without Love: The new-look Cavs

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.