Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig: Rebound Candidate in 2016?


Yasiel Puig’s incredible rise to stardom has unceremoniously fallen to the way side as drama whether personal or professional, seems to be the only thing we see associated with Puig nowadays. It is unfortunate to watch, but he has done himself no favors either as his actions on and off the field have failed to meet expectations.

When he broke onto the scene in 2013 he took the MLB by storm with his incredible cannon for an arm, raw power, and sheer athleticism captivated us as he seemed to be one of the newest players apart of the next wave of multi-talented MLB outfielders.

Unfortunately, 2013 seems like a lifetime ago when it comes to remembering what Puig could offer. He took a step back in 2014, but it was chalked up as him adjusting to the MLB over the course of a whole season. He also began to exhibit the habit of battling nagging injuries like his oblique issue and more recently constant leg issues.

More from Fantasy Baseball

Puig has also had to deal with drama nearly every season. He butted heads with then coach Don Mattingly, and his style of play rubbed his teammates and opponents the wrong way. The drama, injuries, and sudden fame all paints the picture of a guy that has just not been able to adjust to the way of life he now has thanks in part to his early success.

Puig came from nothing in Cuba, and his defection to the U.S. proved to be a even bigger fiasco in itself. Nearly every turn in his life has been nothing short of a guy constantly having to hurdle obstacles. Puig is certainly not the only player from a rough background, but I just wanted to paint a rough portrait of why Puig may have been caught up in this uncontrollable whirlwind in the first place.

Recently, he has made headlines again for an altercation at a bar in Miami. In what may have served as the hardest thing he hit all season, he managed to fight the bouncer and basically bring himself into another circus when he should be solely focused on the 2016 season.

From a fantasy perspective we really don’t even care about anything other than stats and while I tend to fall into that same side of thought, I do like to evaluate the entire picture behind why a player disappoints in the first place. There will be multiple owners absolutely scared off from Puig, albeit justly so, but this allows other owners a chance to buy low on a huge rebound candidate.

Puig has the raw talent to finally hit the upside everyone knows that he has at any moment or during any season. It will all be a matter of if he can keep his head screwed on. The best case scenario for Puig would be for him to get shipped out of L.A. so that he can have a fresh start with another club. But for now he remains with the Dodgers in a once again crowded outfield.

I don’t have to tell anyone that nothing during Puig’s 2015 season promotes optimism. He posted career lows across the board and played in a career low amount of games thanks to hamstring issues. But, where some see a lost cause, other owners will see pure potential.

Puig will certainly come at a huge discount at 2016 drafts, and this screams as one of the few chances that owners may have to snag a guy with potential 30 HR/20 SB upside for the price of nothing more than a later round flier.

It will take an absolute leap of faith for owners, and may have been burnt by him last season and ward him off completely, allowing competing owners to now zero in on a potential pure profit selection. Will he match the expectations he entered the league with, who knows, but the ability to snag him late in the draft is certainly a risk worth taking when trying to gain an advantage.

It is the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket with found money. Puig showed flashes last season that he has not forgotten how to play, .303 AVG/.857 OPS in June and a 4 HR/12 RBI month in August as well. The flashes of brilliance are there, now is the opportunity to pounce on the chance to catch lightning in a bottle.

Early 2016 Projection: .285/20 HR/70 RBI/13 SB