We start our 2015 player profiles with a slightly new, shorter format this year. Up first is outfielder Yasiel Puig, entering his third major league campaign.
Puig in 10 words or less
Ready for the next step.
Will Puig play right field or center? There is no question the team prefers Puig in right field, where he projects as potentially one of the best defenders in the league and where his arm is more of an asset. But in a scenario that Joc Pederson doesn't win the starting center field job, the Dodgers find themselves in a position much like 2014, where they might have to play Puig in center by default and figure out the corners around him.
"This guy may be one of the most talented players I have ever seen, and is capable of so much. I've said this to him, that when you're capable to so much, so much more is expected," said manager Don Mattingly. "I really think the sky is the limit, and we have to keep pushing and asking for that."
Puig had a 159 OPS+ in 2013, in 432 plate appearances, followed by a 145 OPS+ in 640 PA in 2014. In the 131-year franchise history of the Dodgers, there have only been seven seasons of 140 OPS+ or higher by age 23. Puig and Pete Reiser each have two such years, with Tommy Davis, Casey Stengel and Jimmy Sheckard also turning the trick.
Puig will make a relatively paltry $4.5 million in 2015, the fourth season of his seven-year, $42 million contract signed in 2012. With one year, 119 days of service time, there is a small chance Puig could qualify for salary arbitration as a Super Two following 2015 (the cutoff this year was two years, 133 days so it is unlikely). Puig's contract allows him to opt out and into arbitration once he becomes eligible, so it will be either after 2015 or 2016.
2014: Must-watch player
|2015 projections - Age 24 season|
|Bill James||657||23||15||.316/.399/.530||39 doubles
Puig takes a more prominent role in the lineup this year, and I have high hopes. My guess for Puig in 2015 is that he'll hit .295/.378/.526 with 28 home runs. What is your prediction? Be sure to leave your 2015 guesses in the comments.