If the heat during Spring Training in Arizona this Spring maxed out at 10, the Dodgers turned the optimism up to 11. Even with the offseason acquisitions, it was the 22 year old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig who was rocking out the hardest.
Puig was sent down to Double A Chattanooga, where he still is as of the end of May. But should he make an imminent appearance at the Major League level? Not much has gone right for the last placed NL West team, and the time to wait has come and gone.
Matt Kemp went on the 15 day DL as of Thursday May 30th. The Dodgers says Kemp is expected to be ready as soon he is eligible to return. Carl Crawford injured his hamstring Saturday, even if it is only a cramp as Ned Colletti said, and is unavailable to play.
The Dodgers will miss his name on the lineup card, but the All Star centerfielder’s production won’t be missed. It was nonexistent. Underachieving is a kind way of describing Kemp’s .251 average with only 2 home runs. Crawford has been one of the only productive Dodgers batting .301 with 32 runs scored and 9 Stolen Bases. But at least temporarily there is vacant space in the Dodger’s outfield.
In Double A Chattanooga, Puig is hitting .309/.386/.590 with 8 home runs, 36 RBIs and 11 Stolen Bases. Puig could be a monster in the 2 hole or a run producing spot batting sixth in the lineup.
One often cited reason for Puig staying put in the minors is his maturity issues. It’s a lazy excuse from Dodgers management not really taking a look at the big picture. Puig was caught last month 97 in a 50mph zone! That is irresponsible, but it has nothing to do with his play on the field, how the Major league club will look with the addition of Puig, and the changes they would make to bring him up.
The Dodgers are considering bringing up Puig on Monday, and they should be. He could be joined by Hanley Ramirez in the lineup as he is currently making a few rehab starts. Puig has played his last 2 games in Chattanooga in Center Field.
If the Dodgers don’t bring up Puig soon, they are treating this season like the weather. There is nothing Dodgers management can do to change the weather, or as they may see it, the Dodger’s season at this point.
Don Mattingly and Dodger’s management may want to bring him up and keep him up rather than only for a handful of games while Kemp is on the DL. That is a more valid excuse. Or if they want to ship out Ethier or Crawford they need to wait until another team really needs to make a move to get more value.
If the Dodgers are happy with their group of top 4 outfielders and want to keep all of them, Yasiel Puig should make his Major League debut at home on Monday against San Diego.