To say that Yasiel Puig has been impressive throughout his first 20 MLB games would be a gross understatement.
Puig has hit a ridiculous .442/.476/.753 to begin his MLB career. Couple this with 7 homers and 14 RBIs already, and you really have a superstar in the making. According to ESPN, Puig has already been worth 2.0 WAR, a mark that some players can’t reach in a full season of at bats. In fact, if he kept hitting at this pace, assuming he plays in every Dodgers’ game from now until the end of the regular season, he’d be worth around 10 WAR, an MVP caliber number. Keep in mind that this is in only 107 games.
Now, is that likely to happen? Not exactly. Puig’s BABIP sits at an incredibly high .509, which is much higher than the league average mark of .294. The other thing to keep in mind is that this is still only a 20 game sample size. For example, Jeff Francoeur had a 1.226 OPS throughout his first 20 games (along with also 7 homers) and look where he is now. Small sample sizes can be deceiving.
Still, his production really can’t be ignored, small sample size or not. In fact, his production has been so impressive that several high-profile members of the baseball world are calling for him to be invited to the 2013 MLB All Star Game. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, as well as Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated, share this opinion, and have written about.
They argue that Puig would bring excitement to the event, as well as give the National League a better chance to win with him on the roster. While this may be true, can we really say that he is deserving of an All Star nod as of right now?
My opinion on that is no. While the numbers he’s putting up really are ridiculous, comparing those numbers (through 20 games) to guys who have played 75+ is just nonsensical. There are so many things that can happen over a 20 game span. Consider where we were in the first month of the season. Shin Soo Choo was setting the world on fire with a .337/.477/.554 slashline. Since then, he’s hit just .239. Also consider Justin Upton, who was a clear favorite for the NL MVP award in April, when he hit .298/.402/.734 with an insane 12 homers. Since then, he’s hit just .208 with 3 homers. Conversely, slugger Jay Bruce was hitting just .252/.312/.339 in April with one home run. Many had written it off as a lost season him. He’s turned that around in a big way to bring his season totals up to .282/.327/.528 with 18 homers, being among the NL leaders in slugging percentage, home runs, and RBIs.
The point of all this rambling is to say that anything can happen in such a small sample size. The All Star game is an honor to be invited to, an honor which many MLB players have never experienced. To put a rookie in there based on a sample size of 20 games is absurd and would make a mockery of the system.
However, there is a solution to this: the All Star Game Final Vote. If Puig is still hitting at this level after 150 or so at bats in July, the fans will have a chance to vote him in. There’s no way that he can be left off of the roster if he is still besting .400 near the All Star Break. If he can endure pitchers figuring him out, luck evening out, and all of the other factors that affect sluggers in the game today, he is worthy of inclusion. As of right now, however, it is too far-fetched.