After a sluggish start to 2018, Yasiel Puig had another solid year for the Dodgers. Once again, the 28-year-old is involved in trade rumors this offseason, so let's take a look back before he winds up on another team.
What went right
Much like the Dodgers as a team this season, Puig came alive in mid-May. From May 13 to the end of the season, he hit .289/.351/.574 and hit all of his 23 homers during that time.
Five of those homers came in just two games back in September. The Dodgers were in St. Louis to face a Cardinals team that had just swept Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium three weeks prior.
“He’s focused and he understands the importance of every pitch,” manager Dave Roberts told media about his outfielder after he hit three home runs September 15. “When he does that, he’s as good as anybody in baseball. For him to be as productive, have that day, get us on the board and get some space with the score, we needed every bit of it today. Guys fed off his energy.”
Speaking of energy, this play from July was full of Wild Horse.
Wait what!? Puig just scored from 2nd on a ground ball to the 2nd baseman!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 1, 2018
(via @Dodgers) pic.twitter.com/Fqu2bjKR71
Puig carried the momentum of eight homers in September into the playoffs, hitting a pair of large dingers in the process. He went 15-for-50 (.300) over all three rounds, second only to David Freese in the team overall.
There were two categories that Puig was in the top three for the team lead this season. He led the team with 15 stolen bases for the second consecutive year, while his .267 average ranks third behind Justin Turner (.312) and Matt Kemp (.290).
What went wrong
Once again, Puig struggled against left-handed pitching. Despite an improvement of 26 points in batting average, he only hit .209/.268/.360 versus southpaws.
April was a lousy month that saw him go 17-for-88 (.193) and would end with Puig on the disabled list with a bum hip after banging into a side wall in San Francisco. That trip kept him on the shelf for nine games before he missed 15 more in July with a strained oblique.
Stats: 108-for-405, .267/.327/.494, 21 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs, 60 runs, 63 RBIs 15 stolen bases, 120 OPS+, .820 OPS, 87 strikeouts to 36 walks.
Game of the year
Puig had several good games to pick from. Like the three-run homer to break a tie and eventually win the game for the Dodgers against the Rockies September 19. A 4-for-5 game including a homer at Coors June 1. The big three-run homer in Game 7 of the NLCS that would help clinch a return trip to the World Series. His huge three-run bomb in Game 4 of the World Series might have done it if not for the collapse of that game.
But it’s pretty hard to pass on a three-homer game like the one he had September 15.
Puig has five years and 102 days of major league service time. He was tendered a contract and is arbitration eligible this season.