Yasiel Puig Is A Strong, Strong Man
So, yesterday didn’t go as planned. The goal was to return home from Chattanooga’s home opener and write the newsletter before bed. A couple of things convinced me sleep was a better option and writing with a rested mind would be best. By the time I left the park, I had already been working for 17 straight hours between baseball and the part time job I took as a supplement. This included:
- Polishing off a piece on Diamondbacks prospect from Arizona
- Holding court for my weekly 90-minute live chat
- Spending an hour with THE Carson Cistulli talking prospects and whatnot
On the drive back to Atlanta, I stopped at a gas station to grab a cup of coffee and a terrible convenient store hot dog for the ride home. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I was enraged at the thought a hooligan threw a cup of coffee at my car. My mind was obviously playing tricks on me as it was stupid me who left the coffee on the roof of my car like an idiot.
Close to home, I stopped to top off the gas tank. After turning right onto a main road I’ve driven a thousand times, a police trap startled me. On second look, it was a group of bushes in the median. Needless to say, I was exhausted.
Hence, the newsletter this morning…..
In Chattanooga, the premium talents on display were Yasiel Puig and Zach Lee. At the park, I couldn’t help but chuckle at Dodgers tweeps “covering” his 2-3 with a walk performance. Without a doubt, Puig flashed BIG tools. But his night included a flailing strikeout, seeing eye single, fisted blooper and five pitch walk where the pitcher was so terrible, Puig’s little league fake bunt bat wave on a 2-0 count actually worked.
Puig is an immense talent and should have been ranked higher in everybody’s top-100. Yes, he looked silly against Jimmy Nelson‘s slider which flashed plus, but holy (add expletive here) can he hit a fastball. With two strikes, Puig hammered 95-mph heat past the shortstop and into the outfield for a single. The ball was hit so hard the infielder did not have a chance to react to it. For most players, it would have been a semi-routine 6-3. I’ve scouted Stanton, Harper, Heyward and a host of others. When Puig barrels a baseball, it’s just as impressive.
As I watched Puig, I kept thinking of Sammy Sosa. He has some of the same mannerisms and moxie the Cubs slugger had. It’s unfair to comp any player to a 600+ home run hitter at the height of the steroid era, but it’s what popped into my head.
Puig is an explosive talent I’d be thrilled to stash in any fantasy format.
Zach Lee was less impressive. He has a four pitch mix and solid command, but so does Joe Blanton. Topping out at 91 mph, his fastball was less than I was expecting. Lee’s slider is an above average pitch and he flashed a solid curveball and changeup. With his football background, one would expect him to have a more physical pitching profile. However, Lee is all finesse.
After watching him pitch, I wouldn’t want to own him in fantasy. I know I’ve been saying his name quite a bit lately, but trade Lee on name value and grab Matt Wisler or Domingo Tapia. You’ll receive value on the name AND sign pitchers with higher ceilings. With Lee, it’s important to understand perceived value versus actual value and that you always want to be on the side of actual value. Whenever perceived value is more than actual value, it’s time to sell, sell, sell.
Joc Pederson smoked a line drive to left-centerfield, struck out and hit two infield fly balls. It was good to see him on the field at the same time as former Twins outfielder Rene Tosoni. For me, Tosoni is the epitome of a “Quad-A tweener” which is what I was afraid Pederson might become. Pederson is MUCH better, so I’m comfortable labeling him a “guy”. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, a “guy” is scout terminology for Major Leaguer.
Throughout the season, Pederson has to stay on top of the baseball more and avoid the infield fly balls. Pederson isn’t a plus speed guy, but giving away three plate appearances just isn’t going to work with his profile. I know the term “grinder” has been used to excess, but it’s the type of player Pederson needs to be.
On defense, Pederson took bad routes to fly balls which is reminiscent of the player I saw in the Southern League playoffs.
For fantasy purposes, I’d be happy to own him in deep leagues — Especially those deep enough, or National League only where any player who logs plate appearances has value.
The only real Brewers prospect to write about was Jimmy Nelson. For the first few innings, his fastball/slider mix was closer worthy when down in the zone. He elevates the ball too much though, and free passes have been an issue in the past.
Nelson had the raw stuff to overwhelm Puig in his first plate appearance. When Puig decided to concede the slider and sit dead red fastball, Nelson wound up giving him two for whatever reason resulting in two singles.
In deep and N.L. only leagues, I’d own Nelson for the fact he may have the best arm in the organization.
It was a long, but fun first game for me. Tomorrow, it’s off to see the Rome (Braves) versus the Savannah (Mets) where 2011 first rounder Brandon Nimmo is the top draw.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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