Yasiel Puig has been torching the ball this spring and now has several supporters in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse. One of his biggest supporters is Matt Kemp, who thinks the 22-year-old Cuban outfielder will be up with the big club before too long.
Kemp recently raved about Puig, comparing the 6-foot-3, 245-pound outfielder to Bo Jackson.
“I think he’s way stronger than me,” Kemp told The Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez. “He might have more power than me.
“He’s a monster, man,” Kemp said of Puig. “He’s big. When everybody sees him, they think about Bo Jackson. Puig is a five-tool athlete that can do a lot in the big leagues and help our team one of these days.”
Bo Jackson? More power than Kemp? We’re talking about two All-Stars and two of the more impressive athletes the sport has seen. Kemp even hit 39 home runs in 2011.
The Dodgers signed Puig, a Cuban defector, to a seven-year, $42 million contract last June. He hit .354 in 82 at-bats last season split between the Dodgers’ rookie and single-A teams. That included five home runs and a 1.076 OPS.
Puig has been even more impressive this spring.
Puig is 19-for-42 (.452) in 20 spring games, adding three doubles and two home runs. His OPS is a robust 1.109, though there are some concerns with his 10 strikeouts and no walks. The Dodgers have Carl Crawford, Kemp, and Andre Ethier slotted to fill the outfield. Unless one of them vastly underperforms or gets hurt, the Dodgers might have difficulty finding a spot for Puig. But if the youngster continues to crush the ball, they’ll find a way to get him at-bats, and they could consider trading one of their other outfielders to make room for him.
Below is video of a 3-run home run Puig hit at the beginning of spring training: