Yasiel Puig might be the most polarizing player in major league baseball right now. Since making his MLB debut in June 2013, the 24-year-old Cuban defector’s off-the-field antics, such as repeatedly showing up late for games and displaying a questionable work ethic in the weight room, have angered fans and teammates alike. If you don’t believe me, just check out what some of his current and former teammates have to say about him. On the field, however, Puig has displayed the rare skill set of a five tool player – speed, power, the ability to hit for average, and throwing and fielding abilities. As fantasy baseball players, the first three skills (speed, power, contact) are the most pertinent, and Puig has certainly proven that he’s proficient in each of these key areas as a professional ball player.

Let’s take a look at his MLB career statistics to date:

Season G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG
2013 104 432 19 66 42 11 8.30% 22.50% 0.215 0.383 0.319 0.391 0.534
2014 148 640 16 92 69 11 10.50% 19.40% 0.185 0.356 0.296 0.382 0.48
2015 33 140 3 13 10 0 11.40% 17.90% 0.172 0.351 0.295 0.386 0.467

Impressive production for a player who doesn’t turn 25 until December of 2015. Puig’s career .304/.386/.498 triple slash line is among the best in the game since 2013. His .884 OPS ranks 10th in MLB over that time period. As you can see in the above table, he’s improved his walk and strikeout rates across each season of his career thus far as well.

One major concern is that Puig’s power numbers have declined in each of the last two seasons. He’s hit as many home runs over the past year and a half combined as he did during his rookie season (19) while his ISO has steadily declined each year as well.

Perhaps Puig’s batted ball data will provide some insight into his power decline. Let’s take a look:

Season GB/FB LD% GB% FB% IFFB% HR/FB Soft% Med% Hard%
2013 1.63 19.10% 50.20% 30.70% 10.30% 21.80% 12.90% 49.70% 37.50%
2014 1.55 14.80% 51.70% 33.40% 7.60% 11.10% 17.40% 48.10% 34.60%
2015 1.34 22.70% 44.30% 33.00% 6.30% 9.40% 22.70% 44.30% 33.00%

The good: Puig is hitting ground balls at a career-low 44.3% clip while his line drives are at an all-time high (22.7%). His infield fly rate is currently at a career-low 6.3% as well.

The bad: Puig’s soft hit percentage is at a career worst 22.7% (MLB average is 18.5 %), which is reflected in his career-low 9.4% home run to fly ball ratio as well.

Over the last calendar year, Puig’s offensive production has been somewhat comparable to two other established MLB veterans. Let’s take a look:

Name G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO AVG OBP SLG
Yasiel Puig 103 436 8 61 34 4 10.10% 18.80% 0.164 0.284 0.369 0.448
Eric Hosmer 121 485 13 58 63 6 8.70% 17.50% 0.167 0.302 0.364 0.469
Ben Zobrist 123 535 9 79 63 7 11.80% 10.10% 0.136 0.282 0.365 0.418

Again, these stats reflect those that have been accumulated over the past calendar year, from July 1st, 2014 through today. Raise your hand if you expected Puig to perform at a Hosmer/Zobrist-esque level over a full year’s time. Yeah, me neither. These comps might be slightly generous too, considering the RBI gap between Puig and the other two players.

Puig’s triple slash line looks terrific this season, and is in-line with his career averages. His plate discipline continues to improve. That’s all well and good. But the power is on a steep decline, and the steals have all but vanished. His 258.81 ft average fly ball distance in 2015 ranks 227th out of 252 MLB qualifiers below players such as Didi Gregorius and Nori Aoki, and he’s still looking for his first stolen base this season. Maybe the hamstring injury that required a recent trip to the disabled list is still an issue for him. Either way, it’s difficult to rely on Puig for the elite production that many thought they were getting (myself included) at the beginning of the season. In dynasty and OBP formats, hold him, but in standard redrafts, sell low if you can.

Final Verdict:

Brown Bear Walking in Snow

 

 

  1. Cool Hunk says:
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    What do you think about Ian Desmond for Colin McHugh? 12 team league, OBP and QS otherwise standard. I’ll be giving up Desmond and also have Bogaerts and now Sano.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Cool Hunk: Depends how badly you need a pitching upgrade. I’d probably want a bit more for Desmond though. Maybe shoot for an Arrieta or a Carlos Martinez type.

  2. Dave says:
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    Puig really hasn’t been much of an elite player for half of his major league career. Throw out his May last year and he hit 8 HR and 7 SBs the other 5 months combined. His 3 HR this year seem to follow the same trajectory of a 10 HR hitter. It’s also worth noting that he was caught stealing 7 times in 2014, and has been caught 2 times in 2015. Perhaps he lost the green light to steal after being unsuccessful so many times. If that’s the case, it becomes really hard to count on him for any steals in the future.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Dave: Yeah, good point on the unsuccessful steal attempts. He has the speed to swipe 20+, but seems to have trouble reading pitchers’ moves and getting a good jump. Could put him in the Eaton/Bourjos group of fast players who struggle to steal bases.

  3. J-FOH says:
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    so what you’re saying is you would take braun for Puig now?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: Only one way to find out

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: that ship has sailed, I might consider Brantley

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: He’s like Puig with a lower ceiling

  4. Wild Thing says:
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    Well now you have me worried about Puig. So with that in mind. Which side in a dynasty would you take: Puig and Betts where both can be keep 2 more years or George Springer and Myers who can be kept 4 years? Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Wild Thing: That is a very interesting deal. Let’s give it a quick breakdown.

      Getting Springer for the next 4 years would be huge. He’s one of the few legit 30/30 threats in baseball, and should remain so over that time period. Best player in that deal.

      Myers is easily the weakest player in that deal though. Never been a big fan of his. I think he’s a .265/17/8 kind of player. Not terrible, but not really a difference maker either.

      I wrote about Betts the other week. He looks like a solid .275/15/25 player with a bit more upside from there. Excellent fantasy option.

      Puig is the wild card. If the lightbulb turns on, he could be a monster. First round ceiling. Problem is that his floor is fairly low as well. Just check out his stats over the past year. Very disappointing.

      If your team looks like a contender next season, I’d stick with Puig and Betts. Betts is excellent and Puig is useful at worst. There’s always the chance that Puig takes that next step forward that’s been expected of him as well. If your team’s a year or two away, take Springer and Myers. Springer’s a stud, and Myers has the ability to produce at a higher level than the line that I projected for him above. Hope this helps.

  5. Wild Thing says:
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    Wow. That was amazing. Part of the issue in having is that I could compete next year but more likely am 2 years from being a top team. So tough call. Thank you!!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Wild Thing: No problem. In that case, if you’re able to swap Myers out for a different player, I’d pull the trigger. Good luck!

  6. SteveNZ says:
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    *Sobs into pillow*

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @SteveNZ: Chin up, Steve. I own him in the FCL after all. Feel better?

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Big Magoo: I take no joy from the misfortune of others.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @SteveNZ: I know, thanks. You’re the nicest guy on razzball, Steve. How are your other teams doing?

          • SteveNZ says:
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            @Big Magoo: Ha, I do take joy, it just depends who those ‘others’ are!

            Bit of a mixture. Kid and I are slugging it out at the top of the Original Recipe RCL, I’m chugging along in a playoff spot in my H2H league, 5th in my 14-team keeper and second-last in my 8-team keeper, where my team isn’t actually that terrible.

            I have a job now, though, that actually force=s me to spend some time working, so my teams aren’t getting the attention they once did. Well some of them – I’m sweating over the FCL day and night…

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @SteveNZ: Hahaha. Noted!

              Sounds like your doing well. Not a surprise. I’ve been doing 10-team CBS leagues for years, so I know the feeling of having a great team on paper that seems to be treading water.

              Good luck in your new job! You’ll be fine in the FCL. Just grab a 7th inning reliever that you think might be closing by mid-August…

      • Kid A says:
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        @Big Magoo: Yes. Much better.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Kid A: Glad to help!

  7. Vogt or Die says:
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    Damn just traded for Puig, but I think he gets it together. Usually these things get overblown and then at the end of the season they’re like “remember when we were worried about Puig?” That’s what I keep telling myself at least haha..

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Vogt or Die: There aren’t more than 7-8 players in MLB with more talent than Puig. Despite his (seemingly) red light on the basepaths, that’s not where the majority of his value lies. I don’t consider that a huge deal. He was never projected to be more than a 12-15 steal player anyway. The biggest issue is his power. It’s really fallen off a cliff recently. That’s a huge concern. He’s still hitting for average, and his plate discipline is very good, so there’s still plenty of hope.

    • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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      @Vogt or Die: interesting i just traded for puig giving up mostly vogt.

  8. A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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    what a douchebag, that article should be about what a shit ball greinke is for throwing a person’s luggage in a river. he’s lucky others were there to calm puig down, as greinke would get his babies eaten by puig if nobody stopped it.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @A Wesley Snipes Life: I think that Greinke is bi-polar though. I know that he has some kind of social issue from his days in KC. Kind of like Ricky Williams. Or maybe he’s just a douche. That’s definitely a possibility too.

      • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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        @Big Magoo: having manic and depressive stages doesn’t explain throwing some dude’s luggage into river because he’s taking too long finding other luggage (which story seems to indicate). that’s just douchebaggery (i.e. sociopathic, or assholitry)

        • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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          @A Wesley Snipes Life: certainly being a douchebag is a social issue, you do asshole things and which leads to people wanting to pick fights with you. I know if i went around damaging people’s property i’d be in a lot of fights. I’m sure in court after i just slashed some guy’s tires i’d try to claim “social issue” was the cause too.

          • Big Magoo

            Big Magoo says:
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            @A Wesley Snipes Life: Fair enough. Things definitely seem shaky in that clubhouse.

  9. G says:
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    In my 12 team keeper league which is head 2 head categoryleague with obp and average I was offered harper for my puig and arrieta. I recently traded Abreu for price so have a pitching bump. I’ll quickly list my offense and pitching to get your opinion on the trade. There’s really no keeper value involved other than arrieta who I wasn’t going to keep anyway as I could only keep 4 guys who will likely be arenado, correa, pederson, and harvey. Thanks in advance.

    Starting hitting: Mccan, Chris davis, wong, correa, arenado, upton, marte, pederson, puig, Moreland (have segura and wilson Ramos on bench)

    SPs: Harvey, Price, Salazar, Carrasco, arrieta, Montgomery

    I am not so concerned with trading the puig part of my package as my offense has been great without him for most of season while injured. It’s more about the hit of losing arriet. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @G: Take Harper, then keep him over Pederson if possible. Your pitching will be just fine with Harvey, Price, Carrasco, and Salazar as your top 4 SPs.

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