For most of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have seemed as lifeless as can be. They have been sitting in the basement in the NL West for most of the season, dealing with notable injuries to OF Matt Kemp, SP Zack Greinke, SS Hanley Ramirez, and SP Chad Billingsley. Most of their roster has under-performed, highlighted by OF Andre Ethier, who certainly isn’t earning his $14 million salary with his .230 batting average. There has been no signs of a revitalization in LA with the current roster. That’s why the Dodgers were forced to turn to their farm system for some kind of boost.
On Monday, Yasiel Puig, a 22 year old Cuban native, made his ML debut and certainly made a fine impression. Puig went 2-4 in the game, but most likely made a bigger statement with his double-play throw to end the ballgame. The video of the tremendous throw is below.
Puig followed up his debut with a two home run performance the next night. After two impressive games leading to two Dodger wins, the vibe has certainly picked up in Dodger stadium. The fans are more engaged in the game and have something to cheer about probably for the first time this season.
After a quiet Wednesday night for Puig, he got back to bringing the spark with a grand slam on Thursday. The slam led the Dodgers to a 5-0 shutout win over the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers now sit at seven games under .500 and 1.5 GB of the Padres for 4th place in the NL West. It might not sound like much now, but if you just look at the way Puig and his teammates have the team–and its fans–bouncing around right now, you can certainly tell that they finally have that pep in their step. Just take a look:
This emergence reminds me of last season with the Los Angeles Angels calling up OF Mike Trout. The Angels were 6-14 at the time, and were searching for any kind of boost. They turned to the 20 year old and stuck him right in the lead-off spot. After that, the Angels took off and went 83-59 with Trout in the lineup, who put up some of the best numbers by a rookie in MLB history. Trout’s high motor and great enthusiasm picked up every single player on that Angels roster as they only missed the playoffs by a couple of games. Imagine if they hadn’t called up Trout, what kind of disaster would that have been for an Angels organization that had won Albert Pujols in free agency?
That’s why Yasiel Puig should be here to stay. His energy has finally awoken the Los Angeles Dodgers with his outstanding play in four games. Maybe Puig is the Mike Trout of 2013. The Dodgers could rocket right into 1st place in the NL West like many predicted. Many thought they would ride into first place simply because of their off-season acquisitions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, and already having stars like Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andre Ethier. Maybe they just needed a little push.