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Yasiel Puig slays rookie ball, earns promotion to Rancho Cucamonga

August 13, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck

Say this for the last-place Rancho Cucamonga Quakes: Their final 21 games just got a lot more interesting.

The curiosity that is Yasiel Puig officially has been promoted from the Arizona Rookie League to the Quakes in the high-level Class-A Cal League.

This would be the guy the Dodgers signed for $42 million in June after he defected from Cuba, and who had not played competitive baseball in over a year. Seems he's picking it back up.

He reported to their camp in Arizona, started getting in baseball shape and then joined their rookie team in the Arizona League -- where, after going 0-for-4 in his first game, quickly became a man among boys.

Understand, the 21-year-old outfielder played only nine games before his promotion. Nine little games. But it should be noted that in those nine games he went 12-for-30 (.400) with four home runs, three triples, six walks and 11 RBIs.

That gave him a staggering on-base percentage of .500. And a slugging percentage of 1.000. Otherwise, rookie ball seemed a real struggle.

The Dodgers saw enough and advanced him to the Quakes, who are off Monday before hosting Stockton for three games beginning Tuesday.

He is certainly on a fast track, though it's not all that surprising. Not for $42 million. Anyway, it shouldn't be. Former Cuban teammate Yoenis Cespedes signed with the A’s for $36 million in the off-season and went directly to the majors, where he's batting .306 with 14 homers and 56 RBIs.

Because the Quakes aren't going to be in the post-season, it's possible Puig could get another promotion and get some playoff action with either double-A Chattanooga or triple-A Albuquerque, both currently in first place.

Then there is next season, and naturally the faithful have visions of the powerful, speedy, 6-foot-3 215-pounder claiming left field, which would put a damper on Shane Victorino's ambitions.

More likely the Dodgers will want to see him play more baseball, at least during the first half of the season. Nothing is for certain with this kind of apparent talent, however, so plans are being written in pencil.

Meanwhile, nine rookie games in, the curiosity factor only grows. And for the Dodgers, that's a good thing.

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