He is the seven-day sensation that is sweeping the nation. Yasiel Puig has been a major league ballplayer for barely a week and is already making national headlines with a historically hot start to his career.
On Friday night, Puig blasted his fourth home run in just his fifth career game, the second player to do that since 1900, the first being Mike Jacobs in 2005. The 22-year old Cuban native has hit the ground running, batting .464/.483/.964 in his first week in the majors, leading to a great deal of well-deserved attention. In particular, he has grabbed the attention of legendary Dodger and Hall-of-Famer Tommy Lasorda.
“He’s been great, I saw him in Spring Training and he looked really good in Spring Training,” said Lasorda. “We’re hoping he can give something to the club.”
With both Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp going down with their respective ailing hamstrings and Andre Ethier being anything but productive, the Dodgers have been in desperate need of production from their outfield. Enter Puig; who in seven games has already belted twice as many home runs as Kemp had all season.
“With our leftfielder and centerfielder out, we need some power and he can give us that power,” said Lasorda. “He can hit the ball far.”
That he can, and that he has. PuigMania is in full force in Dodgertown as their young spark plug has breathed life into a once slumping L.A. ballclub again.
When asked about a single player past or present that reminded him of Puig, Lasorda had an interesting response.
“I had [Raul] Mondesi play for me, and I think he’s the same type of player as Mondesi,” said Lasorda, after giving it some thought. “He’s big, he’s powerful, he can run, he can throw; he’s an outstanding outfielder. I’d say he’s another Mondesi.”
Mondesi averaged 26 homers and 82 RBIs while also stealing an average 22 stolen bases from 1994-2003; certainly high praise from Lasorda. The Dodgers would be happy to have themselves “another Mondesi” in their offensively-challenged lineup.
However, they have something with the potential to be even better; they’ve got Yasiel Puig.