WASHINGTON — Two months ago I had never heard of Yasiel Puig. Now he’s one of the most talked about rookies in recent baseball memory. As quickly as Puig burst onto the field at Dodger Stadium is as quick as it took for Puig to become completely polarizing. The 22-year-old Cuban outfielder looks every bit of baseball's next star and the public has led the charge.
As we stand three days from the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, Puig hasn’t been selected for the National League roster, not by San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy (who will manage the NL All- Stars), and not by the fans, they chose Atlanta Braves firstbasemen Freddie Freeman.
The public has been split down the middle if Puig should be an All Star this year despite playing just 36 of the Dodgers’ 91 games. Philadelphia closer Jonathon Papelbon said it would be a joke if Puig was selected to the All Star Game, but the real joke has been what Puig has done to the pitching he has faced this season.
Puig is hitting .397 with eight home runs, 19 RBIs to go along with a .429 on-base percentage, .630 slugging percentage and a 1.060 OPS. With those numbers in such a small amount of games the decision to choose Puig would appear to be pretty easy.
Unfortunately with stardom comes resentment and jealousy.
Just in this past week, the Arizona Diamondbacks, one of the Dodgers rivals in the NL Western Division have put Puig on full blast.
First, former Diamondback great Luis Gonzalez, who is also Cuban, tried to talk to Puig outside the batting cages by speaking in Spanish about their similar journey from Cuba to the United States. The only problem was Puig didn’t feel like talking to Gonzalez for whatever reason. Puig’s own batting coach, Mark McGwire chided the rookie for blowing off Gonzalez.