LOS ANGELES, July 23, 2013 — Yasiel Puig took the baseball world by storm when he was called up to the Dodgers on June 3. During the month of June, Puig was a monster, batting .436 with seven home runs in 26 games. His average on July 2 was .443, since then, Puig has batted .220 with just 13 hits in 59 at-bats with no home runs and just two extra base hits.
Some were drawing comparisons in June to Joe DiMaggio when they should have been drawing comparisons to Jeff Francoeur. Yasiel Puig is definitely in full regression mode that is eerily similar to that of Jeff Francoeur in 2005.
Francoeur made his major league debut on July 7, 2005 with the Atlanta Braves. Through his first 23 games in the big leagues, Francoeur batted .432 with 8 homeruns. Then regression set in and Francoeur went the rest of the season batting .253 with just four homeruns in 176 at-bats. He finished the season with an even .300 batting average.
Anybody watching the Cuban rookie at the plate will quickly notice that Yasiel Puig is just about as free a swinger as one can be. He almost makes Vladimir Guerrero look like a selective hitter, almost. It looks like Puig has never seen a pitch that he does not like. Yesterday in Toronto, Puig was struck out on three pitches. Each pitch was way out of the strike zone, but Puig swung at every one of them.
When he connects on the first pitch of his at-bats, Puig is batting .667. After having a 0-1 count, he is batting just .229 on the year. If you can get him to swing at the first pitch and miss, there is a pretty good chance that you can get him out. Of Puig’s 165 at-bats this year, he has worked the count full just 16 times.
Earlier in the season, Vin Scully said that after facing Puig, an unnamed opposing pitcher said that Puig was either the dumbest hitter he ever faced or the smartest. The pitcher needed one more start against Puig to know for sure.
Yasiel Puig’s luck has definitely run out. He no doubt has the talent to be a major leaguer, but now he needs a coach that can teach him to be a hitter, not a hacker. From manager Don Mattingly’s words, they are trying to teach him pitch recognition, but it is still in its early stages. “I think he’s caught in the middle a little bit,” Mattingly said, “between looking for that breaking ball and the fastball.”
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