Yasiel Puig enjoyed a career-year in 2017 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, establishing himself as one of the best two-way outfielders in baseball. In 570 plate appearances over 152 games, he slashed .263/.346/.487 with 24 doubles a and personal-best 28 home runs, to go along with 64 walks and 15 stolen bases.
Puig excelled with his glove and arm as well, earning Wilson Defensive Player of the Year honors for right field. Since arriving to the Majors in 2013, Puig has gotten under the skin of multiple players across the league, including San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
Most recently in September 2016, the pair nearly exchanged haymakers and had to be separated by both staffs. Puig was later criticized by the Giants’ broadcast booth for his actions — most notably by former Major League pitcher and club color commentator Mike Krukow.
It appears Krukow has changed course, as he revealed that he would love to see Puig in a Giants uniform someday, via an interview with San Francisco-based radio station KNBR:
“I’d have said I don’t want him to come near the Giants organization,” Krukow said referring to his previous feelings about Puig. “But I think now I’d love to have him in the organization because of what we saw last year, and I think a lot of teams say the same thing about the guy.”
He went on to add that the biggest difference with Puig in 2017 was his increase in maturity:
“I think he’s finally starting to mature a little bit,” Krukow continued. “I’ve been really frustrated with the guy because he’s got such incredible tools and I’ve been pretty critical of him throughout his time in the big leagues. Things that I’ve seen that I just shake my head at, and really quite honestly at times disgust me. To me, there’s no greater disgust than a guy that has great talent and watching him not develop or work it out, and he was that type of athlete.
“Last year he made some strides to become a big leaguer, and I think over a period of time it’s going to happen. As he matures he’s realizes he doesn’t have much time in this game and you do indeed have to take advantage of it. He is an interesting player.”
In 67 career games against the Giants, Puig has posted a slash line of .280/.340/.447 with 12 doubles, seven homers and 29 RBI over 268 plate appearances.
The soon-to-be 27-year-old is under contract with the Dodgers for the next two seasons, and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020.