Dealing with multiple injuries and in desperate need of a spark plug in June 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Yasiel Puig from Double-A and the rest as they say, is history.
Puig took the league by storm, helping lift the Dodgers from off the mat and playing a key role in their historic summer run.
For as much as the Cuban native accomplished that season, finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting, controversy, inconsistency and frustration have followed Puig in the years since.
He’s currently under investigation by Major League Baseball for a fight with a bouncer outside a Miami bar that reportedly began when employees attempted to separate Puig from his sister after he allegedly got physical with her.
The incident served as another reminder of growing pains the 25 year old is still experiencing. While some, including Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez believe Puig can turn the corner, others aren’t as sure.
That includes a former teammate who has a harsh opinion of Puig, via Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller:
“He is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game,” one ex-Dodger who believes Puig is beyond redemption said flatly. “Ever.”
Andy Van Slyke, father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke, went on a St. Louis radio talk show in November and implied Clayton Kershaw suggested the club trade Puig.
Speaking after the Dave Roberts introductory press conference earlier this month, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman denied he and Kershaw ever having a conversation of that nature.
While Puig has been the subject of trade rumors, the Dodgers undeniably would sell low if they elected to move the dynamic, but enigmatic talent at this stage. Moreover, Friedman is confident a healthy Puig can play a significant role in the Dodgers’ success.
Friedman also said this week he was pleased with the progress Puig has made in effort to put himself in better position to withstand the rigors of a full season.
Limited by hamstring injuries to a career-low 79 games last season, Puig hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 12 doubles, 38 RBIs, a .328 woBA, 111 wRC+, 66 strikeouts and 26 walks in 311 plate appearances.