Friday, August 03, 2012

Puig Already Pounding

Keith Law over at ESPN.com scouted Yasiel Puig in his professional debut this week, and Law liked what he saw (link insider only):

Yasiel Puig made his professional debut on Wednesday night as a DH and made his first appearance in the field on Thursday night at Scottsdale Stadium, playing for the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers against the Giants. Like fellow Cuban Jorge Soler (Cubs), Puig looked rusty all around, but he did show the strength and raw power that made him a popular free agent when he hit the market in late June, so popular the Dodgers signed him for $42 million.

Puig's first professional hit was a triple to deep left-center, hit probably 400 or so feet, on a ball he didn't even fully square up -- when he hit it, he seemed to think he'd just popped it up. For a big guy with that kind of power, he doesn't use his hips that much; his swing is rotational, but he gets more strength from his hands and arms than from his legs. He's an average runner and showed average arm strength; he looked like he could cover plenty of ground in right, although he wasn't significantly challenged, and he did drop one fairly routine fly ball that hit his glove and bounced out. Overall, he looked a little uncomfortable, especially with his timing at the plate, which I'd attribute to his layoff from playing competitively. I give him a lot of credit for playing all-out, running out two ground balls at full speed and advancing from second to third on a fly ball to short left.

Comparisons to Soler are unavoidable, as they're both from the same country and signed large deals within a few weeks of each other. Soler is looser, more athletic, with better bat speed and looks a lot younger, at least in physical maturity, while Puig has more present power and is stronger overall. I wouldn't take either player's stats this summer too seriously, since they're both old for the league but have not faced live pitching in game situations for some time.

photo: ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com