Yasiel Puig looks healthy, impressive in season’s first game

It’s hard to extrapolate much from one game — especially in baseball — but Yasiel Puig looked pretty good on opening day, and that’s good news for the Dodgers.

He finished 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and three runs scored. His weighted runs created plus (wRC+) sits at a completely sustainable 329. He was also worth 0.2 WAR, meaning he’s on pace to be a 32-win player.

OK, enough with the silliness. I want to focus on his triple. Let me preface this by saying, yes, it came in a blowout against a kid (Luis Perdomo) making his MLB debut, but it was still impressive.

He got two at-bats against the Rule 5 draftee and promptly had two of the highest exit velocities of any hitter on the day. He smashed a 107 MPH single up the middle in his first at-bat and sliced a 100 MPH triple to right-center field in his second. Puig has an up-the-middle approach at the plate, and it showed in both of those ABs. The triple was particularly impressive as he let the ball travel deep in the strike zone before staying inside it and hitting it hard to right-center. It was a great piece of hitting and looked like vintage Yasiel Puig (if there is such a thing). It came on an 83 MPH curveball and instead of jumping at it, he let the pitch do what it did, and he did what he does. Here’s a link to the video since MLB hasn’t yet given it an embed code.

For what it’s worth, I had him at 11.2 seconds from the crack of the bat until his foot hit third base. For comparison’s sake, Dee Gordon‘s “inside-the-park-home-run” in 2014 was clocked at 13.89 seconds. We know Puig isn’t Gordon-level of fast, but home-to-third in 11.2 seconds is pretty damn good. (#notascout)

I like this version of Puig much better than last year’s. A healthy Puig is a good (even great) Puig. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field. If he does, he will produce.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.