While he has not garnered the same recognition as Cody Bellinger or Clayton Kershaw for their respective 2017 campaigns, Yasiel Puig is in midst of arguably his best season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It’s coming the year after Puig was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City after failed attempts to trade him at the non-waiver deadline. He vowed to be a better teammate and player upon rejoining the Dodgers for the final month of the 2016 season.
The 26-year-old carried that sentiment and focus into Spring Training this year, along with expressing a desire to agin become an everyday player. Puig earned that role despite often batting No. 8 in the Dodgers lineup for the first time in his career.
Now a key part of the team’s success, Puig recently said he’s hopeful to win multiple World Series and remain with the Dodgers organization for several years to come, via an interview that aired on Fox Sports 1:
“I hope to win a World Series for the city. I hope to be wearing Dodger blue for a long time, because I want the first of many championships — God willing — to come with the Los Angeles Dodgers.”
The turnaround has been nothing short of astonishing, considering Puig’s future with the franchise was very much in doubt last August. He’d also been the subject of trade speculation prior to the 2016 season.
Puig’s maturation this season has earned the praise of his teammates and manager Dave Roberts. Puig credited some of that to Adrian Gonzalez, who’s been a source of constant leadership for the dynamic right fielder.
A refined and improved approach at the plate can be attributed to a trusting relationship Puig has forged with Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward. Beyond strides made with the bat, Puig has put himself in the thick of consideration for his first Gold Glove Award.