You’ve all heard his name by now. Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers phenom of a rookie outfielder, has taken the league by storm. Puig came up to the majors on June 3.
He’s batting .443 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs in 28 games. His slugging percentage is .745. He’s had multiple hits in 15 of those 28 games and has only been held hitless four times. He had 44 hits in his debut month, the second-most ever for a rookie in his first month in the majors. By all statistical measures, Puig is — for lack of a better phrase — really fucking good.
He’s getting some All-Star Game consideration right now despite only playing one month of baseball, and Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon takes issue with that.
Here’s what he said in an interview with MLB Network Radio:
“The guy’s got a month, I don’t even think he’s got a month in the big leagues, and just comparing him to this and that, and saying he’s going to make the All-Star team, that’s a joke to me. It’s just really what happens in baseball when… to me it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight, nine, ten plus years, and it kind of does them an injustice because they’ve worked so hard to stay there.”
Come on, Papelbon. The All-Star Game is about the fans, not the players. If it was about the players, it would be voted on by the writers like the end-of-season awards are instead of by the players. If it was about the players, big names who are having mediocre seasons wouldn’t make the All-Star Game based on name alone.
Yasiel Puig has been one of the major storylines of the baseball season so far. The fans love him, and I don’t just mean the ones in Los Angeles. Everyone wants to talk about him — although some are reluctant until they hear his name pronounced on ESPN first. It would feel wrong watching the All-Star Game and not seeing a player that has been as dominant as he has been playing.
If Major League Baseball wants to make the All-Star Game more about doing justice for veteran players and less about letting the fans see the guys that they want to see play, they can change the voting system and take the power out of the fans’ hands. Until then, Papelbon is wrong and Puig should be an All-Star.
Photo via USA Today Sports