If you were to ask anyone who was at Camelback Ranch during the first two weeks of spring training which Dodger player was the most exciting to see, the answer would be simple – it would be Dodger legend and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, whose presence at Camelback Ranch as Special Adviser has changed the dynamics of spring training forever.
If you were to ask this same question about which current Dodger player in camp was the most exciting to see, the answer would be equally as simple, although it might surprise you. It wouldn’t be Dodger ace and former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw or even two-time (consecutive) Dodger All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp. No sir; the player that is causing the biggest buzz at the Dodgers’ five-year-old training facility is none other than five-tool Cuban phenom outfield prospect Yasiel Puig.
Through the first two weeks of camp, Puig is hitting .423 with a .407 OBP, has appeared in more games (12), has had the most at bats (26), has scored more runs (6), and has more RBIs (6) than any other Dodger. He is currently tied for first in hits (11) and is second in doubles (3) – all of this from a 22-year-old. On the other side of the plate, Puig has yet to committed an error in 10 total chances (1.000 FPCT) and has one outfield assist. In fact, Yasiel Puig is generating so much excitement and interest, and he is so much fun to watch that my friend and colleague Eric Stephen over at True Blue LA even has a daily report on him called the Daily Puig Update – how cool is that!
Now before you get too excited about Yasiel Puig and to help curb your enthusiasm about him, both Dodger general manager Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly have already gone on record to say that Puig will not be the Dodgers opening day starter in left field should recently acquired (and recently surgically repaired) outfielder Carl Crawford be unable to answer the opening day bell. Mattingly has said that in the event that Crawford is not ready by opening day, he will most likely go with either Jerry Hairston Jr. or Skip Schumaker in left field. And while this may be upsetting to most Dodger fans (including me), Puig has exhibited very clear signs that he is not quite MLB ready (especially with his base running) and he will most likely begin the 2013 season at either Double-A Chattanooga or Triple-A Albuquerque – but fear not, there is little doubt that he will be called up to the Big club at some point during the 2013 season should any of the Dodger regular outfielders (Lord forbid) suffer a prolonged injury.
With opening day now only 24 days away and with Carl Crawford only now beginning to hit off of a tee and partake in outfield drills, it is highly unlikely that he will be ready on April 1st – this in spite of his insistence that he will be in the opening day line-up.
Who will be the Dodgers Opening Day Left Fielder?
- Jerry Hairston Jr. (27%, 13 Votes)
- Yasiel Puig (23%, 11 Votes)
- Alex Castellanos (21%, 10 Votes)
- Skip Schumaker (17%, 8 Votes)
- Carl Crawford (6%, 3 Votes)
- Tony Gwynn Jr. (4%, 2 Votes)
- other (please identify in comments) (2%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 48