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Is it already time for Dodgers to dial back the Yasiel Puig hype?

October 08, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Yasiel Puig walks out of the dugout for a game with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Yasiel Puig walks out of the dugout for a game with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti says this about prospect Yasiel Puig:

“You could be standing with your back to the cage, and when he hits, you’ll know he’s hitting.”

Puig is the Dodgers’ top-hitting prospect. Sign for $42 million and you get that designation.

He is the outfielder who defected from Cuba, did not play competitive baseball for more than a year and then received that staggering contract with the Dodgers.

Puig signed, got himself in baseball shape, ate up rookie ball in Arizona and then was promoted to Rancho Cucamonga in the high-level Class-A Cal League. Next up, he’ll play in the Arizona Fall League.

Truth be told, however, he played well for the Quakes in Rancho, but his numbers were more of the very-good type, as opposed to the you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me variety.

In 52 at-bats with the Quakes, he hit .327 with one home run and four RBI. He had a .407 on-base percentage and a middling .423 slugging percentage. He did not eat the Cal League.

Puig is understandably green, though he will turn 22 in December. The Dodgers remain sky-rocket high on his potential. Of course, they are sort of invested.

“Plus-plus tools,” Colletti said. “Power and speed. He’s going to need some work around the game, inside the game.”

Enough so, that is seems unlikely he will be seen on the Dodgers’ major-league roster next season, despite the instant impact of Cuban Yoenis Cespedes signing and playing with the A’s. Despite his ambitions.

“We’ll see,” Colletti said. “It will take some time to gauge all of that.

“He’s going to play in the Arizona Fall League. That will be another indicator for us.”

Puig doesn’t speak English, is adjusting to a new country at a young age, getting back into top baseball shape and picking up the nuances of the American game. For now, it might be best for those enthralled by all the hype to scale back their instant-impact dreams a notch.

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