As of this writing, the final vote for the last spot on the National League All-Star team has just a few hours left.
And at this point, it looks like Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta Braves’ first baseman, will beat out Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig for that last spot as Puig is currently in second place behind Freeman, due to what I’m sure is an absolutely huge and massive campaign among Braves fans to get out the vote which has apparently surpassed the Dodgers’ efforts.
Dodger fans will certainly be disappointed if the vote ends the way it has been going, but one question remains:
Does Puig REALLY deserve to be on the N.L. All-Star team and go to New York for the Mid-Summer Classic on July 16?
I know full well that lots of folks, particularly Dodger fans, will say yes; I, for one, voted for Puig on the Final Vote ballot on Major League Baseball’s website.
Though I don’t regret voting for Puig, I see this issue more objectively than the average Dodger fan:
If Puig were called up sometime in April of this season instead of June 3 – The Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout and the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper entered the majors on April 28, 2012, giving them that much more time in “The Show” – and put up the numbers that he put up in that much longer of a time, then his being an all-star would be a no-brainer.
After all, a .394 batting average (after being above .400 for so long) with eight home runs in only 35 games and 142 at-bats is nothing to sneeze at.
But it is that 35 game statistic that is the main factor in my book, as Freeman has put up good numbers for a longer time, having been a regular in MLB since 2011.
That’s why, as much as it hurts to say this, it wouldn’t be a tragedy if Puig didn’t go to Citi Field in New York for the All-Star Game this year.
The reason? At the tender age of 22, he has tons and tons of time to represent the Dodgers as an National League All-Star; I, for one, would like to see what Puig does over a longer stretch of time.
There’s no doubt that Puig has been incredible during his roughly six weeks in the big leagues, but I would like to see what the right fielder’s numbers are at the end of September before I formally anoint him as the next baseball superstar destined for a long, Hall-of-Fame career.
That could certainly happen, but…
It is equally possible that, like Joe Charboneau with the Cleveland Indians in 1980 (if you don’t know who he is, never mind), Puig could fall victim to injuries and pitcher adjustments – he has already shown to be vulnerable to breaking pitches outside the strike zone – and flame out after a year.
That’s why we, as Dodger fans in particular and baseball fans in general, need to keep the jury out on this young man, no matter how well he has done to this point.
I know that will be hard for some, as exciting as Puig has been, but it is for the best.
And as for the All-Star Game, don’t feel too devastated if he falls short on votes and Freeman is chosen; wish the Braves’ star well as he deserves to go to New York as much as Puig does, and prepare for our number 66 to have a great second half.
Which is ultimately more important.