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Yasiel Puig and the All-Star Game
All-Star voting ends Thursday, and it’s likely to end without Yasiel Puig being named a starter – unless a flood of write-in votes changes things.
But that doesn’t mean that the Cuban-born Dodgers phenom won’t play in the midsummer classic.
First the facts: Puig strolled on to the MLB stage on June 3, like a lightning bolt sent to save the Dodgers’ season and Don Mattingly’s job as manager. Los Angeles is 15-11 since Puig’s call-up and June was the Dodgers’ first winning month of the season.
Puig is 44-for-101, hitting .436 with a .467 on-base percentage and is slugging .713 with seven home runs. He’s already amassed 72 total bases – that’s just behind Cody Ross (74), as many as Jeff Keppinger and more than Delmon Young (71). And Puig has been playing for less than a month.
Add to that some tremendous play in right field and the tremendous buzz that’s surrounding him and you have a pretty compelling All-Star case.
But because Puig didn’t begin the season with the Dodgers (he was in the minors), he wasn’t listed eligible to be listed on the All-Star ballot. There are still numerous ways for him to make the team, however:
1 – He could be voted in as a write-in candidate, though that’s unlikely. The outfielder who’s received the 15th most votes so far, Ichiro Suzuki, is still over 1.6 million votes behind third-place outfielder Jose Bautista. Puig would have to get nearly two million write-in votes in less than four days just to approach catching Bautista. Probably not going to happen.
2 – He could be picked as a “final vote” candidate. Each year the two leagues select five players each to face off in a “final vote,” where the winner is added to the All-Star roster.
3 – He could be selected by NL manager Bruce Bochy as an All-Star reserve or be voted in by the players as a reserve.
4 – Someone could get injured and he could be picked to replace them.
Despite Puig’s exemplary numbers, there are arguments for keeping him out of the game, most of which revolve around his less than one month of service time.
The same argument, however, was made last season in regards to rookies Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Both were eventually selected to the All-Star team (as reserves) and both won Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues.