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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: WHY YASIEL PUIG IS NOT A FIRST ROUND PICK

                                                               Yasiel Puig

Generally speaking, most publications (including ours) have resisted the temptation to put Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig as a first round draft pick.  Despite a Mike Trout-like smashing rookie debut when Puig hit .319 with 19 home runs and 11 steals in only 382 at-bats, Puig is still far from a finished product whose advanced stats show some red flags which need to be looked at closely.  With that said, let's dig in and find out why I don't think Puig is a first round pick and what he could really in actuality supply his owners this season.

Again as far as Puig's 2013 rookie season was concerned, there is no doubt he was a huge difference-maker for those lucky enough to snag him off waivers when the Dodgers summoned him from the minor leagues.  Showing the precious power/speed game that all fantasy baseball players love, Puig instantly became grouped in with other five tool outfield stars such as Andrew McCutchen, Trout, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, and Adam Jones.  While there is no doubting Puig's power and speed, the rest of his game has to be taken apart a bit. 

Let's start with the .319 average Puig put up last season.  Thee is almost no chance in hell Puig approaches that number again this season for a number of reasons.  The first is that Puig put up a very lucky .383 BABIP which is not sustainable by any means.  When that number regresses back to the mean this season, Puig will see a sizable drop in his batting average.  In addition, Puig struck out in 22.5 percent of his at-bats last season which is a very poor ratio and is another reason the average will take a fall. 

When putting all things together, Puig is looking at a very good chance to be a 20/20 guy in 2014 but it will come with a batting average giveback that could be more than a little.  Pitchers also have more film on Puig which means a sophomore slump is also possibly in the cards this season.  While we do like Puig, we won't reach too high for the guy.

2014 PROJECTION:  .285 26 HR 72 RBI 89 R 22 19 SB

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