Not sure what more Puig can do to win a Gold Glove

It became the mantra for Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig within days of him making his major league debut on June 3, 2013: “Do not take your eyes off of Yasiel Puig. If you do, you will miss something incredible.”

Love him or loath him, truer words have never been spoken. Whether it’s making an impossible throw to nail a baserunner, hitting a clutch home run or base hit, or making a spectacular if not impossible catch, the oft-controversial 26-year-old Cienfuegos, Cuba native has a knack for always being right in the thick of things. Always.

Sure enough, that “incredible” thing happened again on Tuesday evening at Chase Field in Arizona.

In the bottom of the sixth inning and with the Dodgers nursing a (then) precarious 3-2 lead over the Diamondbacks, recently acquired Dbacks slugger J.D. Martinez hit a 98-MPH Pedro Baez fastball over the wall in right field. It was a home run by a good three feet … only it wasn’t a home run. The 6′-2″ / 240-pound Puig timed his leap perfectly to take him to the top of the wall and with a fully extended left arm Puig made a spectacular catch to rob Martinez of a sure home run. It was a Gold Glove-caliber catch in every sense of the word, and it was one of many similar outstanding plays that Puig has made this season for the NL West first place Dodgers.

There is zero doubt that J.D. Martinez’s ball would have been a home run were it not for Puig’s spectacular leaping catch. (Click on image to view video)

But for reasons known only to themselves, the esteemed members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) – who cannot even get their own acronym right – will, in all probability, once again snub Puig of the Gold Glove that he very much deserves.

Why, you ask?

Because in spite of his frequent display of his five tools, the media – at least those outside of Los Angeles – simply do not like Yasiel Puig for whatever their reasons.

There is no disputing that the old Puig often made the media (and fans) shake their heads in disbelief because of his on and off-field antics. And while it is certainly understandable that some of his ‘Puig being Puig’ moments are worthy of a face palm, the simple truth is that there are very few outfielders in the game today who are better – or even equal to – Yasiel Puig, regardless of one’s personal feelings about him.

But don’t just take my word for it, check out Puig’s defensive numbers, for which the annual Gold Glove award is all about. In 183 total chances, Puig has committed only one error for an outstanding .995 fielding percentage. This has him tied with Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis and San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence for the best fielding percentage among all National League right fielders. And though Puig has only three outfield assists thus far which has him tied for 10th in the league, Pence also has three and Markakis two.

DodgerTalk’s David Vassegh has been lobbying hard to bring attention to Yasiel Puig as a Gold Glove candidate this season, and rightfully so.

But alas, the National League’s poster child Bryce Harper with his .989 FPCT and eight outfield assists will probably win the 2017 Gold Glove for right fielders because… well… he’s Bryce Harper and not Yasiel Puig … statistics be damned.

 

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10 Responses to “Not sure what more Puig can do to win a Gold Glove”

  1. Bluenose Dodger says:

    Yasiel has become one of the best, if not the best outfielder there is. Hardly a game goes by that he doesn’t come up with a great play. He seems to read the ball well off the bat and takes direct routes to the ball.

    I think his outfield assists are down because, well, would anyone in his right mind try to run on him?

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      Excellent point, Harold.

    • Respect the Rivalry says:

      Puig has it all. Speed to get to the ball quickly, quick release, strong, accurate arm. His turn and throw, right on target is amazing. He always seems to be right where balls coming off the wall go.
      I’ve seen several times this year that runners round first on a ball in the corner, clearly thinking double, then pull up. Kinda like they hear a little voice, or a loud first base coach, saying, “That’s Puig out there!”
      Another thing I’ve noticed over the years. More than any other award it seems that once a player wins a couple Gold Gloves he seems to keep winning it. My thought is that so many of the BWAA voters don’t really pay that much attention to defense. It’s much easier to just vote for whoever won previously.

    • porch says:

      Completely agree Harold. His throws are so strong and accurate that batters have just stopped trying to take the extra base. That is not lost on the coaches or front office. They have all recently talked about how is defense is game changing because the very threat of him prevents runners from taking an extra base. He hustles to every ball to make sure he’s ready to launch a throw if he needs to. I’ve witnessed many batted balls in the corner that would normally be doubles if a lesser fielder were out there.

  2. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I agree, Puig is one of the best right fielders in all of baseball.

  3. porch says:

    BBWAA doesn’t vote for the gold glove. Managers and the coaching staffs do. They can’t vote for anyone on their team and only vote for players within their league.

  4. CruzinBlue says:

    Nice glove-work there porch. I’d long forgotten that little tidbit.

    No doubt, Yasiel Puig is deserving of the Gold Glove award. I’d imagine that his improved work ethic, something that managers and coaches would take note of, will go a long way toward improving his voting chances this year. He has my vote!

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