Puig’s Batflipping Might Be A Big Deal

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There were all sorts of nuggets at Dodgers Fan Fest, going to class after taking the Winter off means that tons of players have stories how they’re going to improve this upcoming season.

Joc Pederson‘s story is working with Turner Ward who is trying to iron out the swing that had Joc fighting to stay at the major league level last year.

Chase Utley‘s appeal still hasn’t been heard and he still isn’t sure when it will be scheduled. This might mean that Micah Johnson will be able to tell everybody that he made the 2016 Dodgers opening day roster.

Scott Van Slyke‘s story is smoothing over awkward feelings over his dad saying Clayton Kershaw wants Yasiel Puig gone during the offseason.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is the first of many players to be in the Best Shape Of His Life.

And while a mechanically right Joc and healthy Ryu will be a huge boost to the 2016 club, the one player who can easily fix the problem of having little to no high end talent on the team is Yasiel Puig. So I found this quote particularly illuminating

Puig’s first batflip in 2016 will certainly elicit thinkpieces about his regression from a maturation standpoint, but that quote was easily the most significant thing from Fan Fest. Don’t believe me? April 13th, 2015 Yasiel hurt his hamstring rounding 1st base on a single. The next day, this report came out

Though acknowledging that some fans are entertained by his theatrics… “I want to show American baseball that I’m not disrespecting the game…” Puig maintained that his bat flips aren’t intended to disrespect the game or his opponents… “I don’t do that because I lack respect..” “I do that because of the emotions that I have”

There is a theory around Puig’s success, it’s that the emotion that he displays doesn’t hinder his on-the-field ability but he’s a better player because of it. Yasiel’s production ever since that report came out dipped to .259/.324/.431 in only 281 plate appearances. This might have to do with the devastating lower leg injuries that he suffered throughout last year, but Craig Calcaterra’s theory is that it had just as much to do with his commitment to assimilation in American Baseball:

Lets be clear, he did seem better at defense last year, and Farhan Zaidi did say that coming into the season his defense was at the level to contend for gold gloves, and Puig’s slash line in those 281 plate appearances translate to a 110 wRC+ which means that he was 10% better than the league average. A right fielder with good defense and better than average hitting is absolutely worth having on the roster and starting everyday, heck if he played in 148 games (his career high), he would have accrued 2.8 fWAR which would have placed him 11th among Right Fielders. Not to mention that Puig is notorious for his hot streaks, when he gets going he really mashes the baseball, and there wasn’t one of those last season.

Ultimately this isn’t a story about Puig’s adjustments, it’s a story about a player who is so talented that his floor is a top 11 RF in the game, but who’s ceiling is a .304/.386/.501 hitter that crushes the league with an arm that looks an awful lot like Vlad Guerrero in the outfield. Puig is at his best when he’s allowed to be himself on a baseball field, and Puig’s best is a generational talent and while he will never be Bryce Harper, or Mike Trout, he isn’t far behind them at his peak.

The cultural assimilation game with Puig didn’t work last season and while I certainly don’t want to dismiss the whole idea that Puig has been an enormous issue in the clubhouse, Puig’s talent is big enough to where the Dodgers have to make him work within the context of the clubhouse, I mean reporters certainly talk about Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez differently as far as personality goes, but Rodriguez has worked out, one way or another. A Puig who batflips is already closer to his 2013-2014 self and that’s alright with me.

Adrian Garcia

Adrian Garcia

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38 thoughts on “Puig’s Batflipping Might Be A Big Deal

  1. Hey Adrian, how ya been? I hadn’t been reading your works lately and don’t know if you’ve left the site where we met. I left reading there for more reasons than the primary one being of dismissing a couple friends of both ours. Glad you’re aboard here as I’m guessing you in fact are aboard. Do you mind me calling you AGar? I don’t like calling someone something they don’t like. Kind of catchy, huh? Glad realizing your friendship with Scott has remained in tact. Let these guys know your age. I’m sure they’ll all agree you’ve got quite a shining future ahead due to your writing skills. Great guys here as they tolerate my polluting writing skills.

    1. Hey, Quasi I’ve been doing fine, thanks for asking, I appreciate it, glad to have you commenting here, it’s always interesting reading your responses.
      AGar is totally cool with me hah, it is catchy! Hope you’re doing well thanks a ton for reading.

    2. The only problem I have with Puig flipping his bat, is when he flips his bat, and his hit is not a HR. I agree every player is different, and what ever works for Puig, or any player, they should do, if this will make them a better player. And to be the best of anything, you much stay true to yourself, and use what works for you. As long is it is also best for the team. I also think Puig needs to learn how, not to let his emotions get the best of him, like he has, in the post season, when he is pitched in a certain way. Instead of Puig shaking his head, to the pitcher, that he knows what is coming, Puig needs to sometimes keep his emotions to himself. And instead, hit the next pitch he likes, like a rocket, and then flip his bat, as far as he wants, or take off running like a rocket. He needs to know actions mean much more, then shaking his head, and shaking his head, like he does, just makes him look silly. And silly does not get you respect.

  2. “The cultural assimilation game with Puig didn’t work last season”

    How do we know? Merely because Craig Calceterra theorized about it? In fact what baseball cultural assimilation are talking about: hitting the cutoff man, not getting thrown out at 3B with two outs, showing up on time? That sounds more like baseball fundamentals, nothing cultural.

    I really don’t care about the bat flip, but if some pitcher gives him a little chin music because of it, then that is a little cultural assimilation. Remember Field of Dreams: “Don’t wink kid!” 🙂

  3. As you know, I believe Yasiel Puig possesses more talent than any player I have ever seen.

    I also believe he is a knucklehead.

    If Roberts can fix that, then I am down for any bat flipping he wants to do. Talk the talk, but walk the walk!

    The last two years I played slow-pitch softball (at age 54 and 55), I gave up just one HR and it was in the Championship Game with the bases empty (we won 13-4). The hitter told me before the game he was going to do it and he did. It didn’t faze me that he ran around the bases backwards. I laughed… and they still lost.

    Flip your bat, Yasiel when you hit one in the bottom of the 9th to beat Zack Greinke. Flip it high and with style. I will dig it!

    1. Only one home in a slow pitch championship game? You must have been the youngest player playing against guys in their 60s.

      I always liked Ryu’s bat flip the best. Ryu is a skinny flipper.

      1. One home run in two years? Come on man.

        I have no problem with a bat flip. I hope he does it 50 times this year. Just don’t do it on balls that don’t leave the park.

      2. Bum,

        Not in a game… in two seasons and I was the oldest player in the league. Most of the guys were in their 20’s!

        I gave up 1 HR in two seasons. Two seasons!

        Everyone hits the ball in slow pitch. I just made then hit it a 1/2″ from where they wanted. Pop up or ground out!

        Believe it or not!

        1. You just convinced me. Was there a pitch height limit and was there an extended homeplate? I can remember the first time I hit against high arc pitching with that two foot extension behind home plate. The pitcher hit the back of that extension three consecutive times and I swung and missed three times.

          1. 12 feet, but I usually started at 16-18 feet and get a couple of illegal pitches called. Then I would throw 6 to 15 feet with a knuckleball or huge backspin. It took me several years to get it down. BTW, I led the team in BA my second to last year but no HR either I lost my power in my late 40’s. Arthritis!

          2. I was playing in an Open tournament in Sacramento one year (shortstop) and our pitcher did what ALL pitchers do, threw a first pitch around 16′ to see what would be the actual limit and the leadoff hitter hit it over the 300′ fence in dead center. As he was rounding first he says to our pitcher “you can throw them all 20′ and the result will be the same”. And he was right. ‘A’ league hitters, right through the lineup can all hit it out. At least in California they can. I never played in a tournament in Indiana. But hitters hit everywhere.

  4. I have no issues with a bat flip never have never will. Bautista probably had the most epic one yet in last years playoffs. If a pitcher has a problem with bat flips plain and simple be a better pitcher and don’t give up the home run in the first place. Don’t do a Bumgarner and try to act the fool or worse yet do a Brian McCann and try to start a fight at the plate after the fact.

      1. Not much new era, he would get tossed out of the game for intentionally throwing at the batter. New day new game Gibsons and Drysdales would not have the leeway the did in the past.

  5. While Puig has pissed me off and I went from fan to not a fan, my question is why is he the only mlb’er called out for bat flipping? Matt Adams flip made him a hero in STL and Batistas flip was epic.
    I think that Puig is being dealt unfair criticism for his bat flipping. His undisciplined plate approach, defensive fundamentals and off field behavior is what gets me.
    IMO pug gets ragged on more because of the shade of his skin. Yup, I said it. Look at others that are given passes, but when it comes to Puig there is a biased opinion.
    Before someone says that Batista is Latino, I know- a light skinned one. To me it is not about the race or where he’s from. It’s just he resembles an African-American and that is the reason people don’t give him a pass like they do to others.

    1. OK – I think there are some Neanderthals who would do that, but Michael Jordan was pretty black too. So was Willie Mays. Again, I know there is prejudice, but I am not sure it is usually based upon skin color.

      Big Poppy and Reggie Jackson both are/were big bat flippers. I don’t buy the skin color thing. I think it has to do with being a knucklehead! That and the way you carry yourself on and off the field.

      Just my opinion.

    2. I don’t think it is Puigs skin about that, but I do think that Bumgarner has a problem with players from other countries. If you look at all the players, that Bumgarner has a problem with, they have been players, from another country. I just think the thing with Puig is more about how he came on the spectrum in baseball, and how well he did. And the problem with Puig is that he hasn’t done much in baseball, in the last couple of years, except for the first half of 2014. But he has continued to be in the news in a negative way. And people always like to see someone fall. I do think that anything that Puig does now, is going to make the news, and be exagerated, because what he has already done. Just like Scott has written, Puig just needs to be himself, and play his heart out, and Dodger fans will love him again, and he doesn’t have to worry about the rest. If he is happy with himself, and plays like he can, all of his teammates will be right there for Puig.

      1. Puig is young and free for the first time in his life. He’s not stupid, he will figure it out. Bumgarner is a rural North Carolina cracker. I doubt he ever changes.

      2. Maybe, but I think you have to be pretty careful when accusing someone of being a racist. Drew Silva wrote some stupid screed arguing the same thing.

        ….I do wish, though, that the Dodgers would have taken more issue…maybe gone out on the field and yelled a little more….when Bum flipped out when Alex Guerrero did that little twirl when he popped out that one time. That was at Dodger Stadium. You can’t let that guy talk to your players that way!….in front of your home crowd! I don’t know if he’s a bigot or not, but Bum is jerk.

        1. Bumgarner is one big jerk, and Guerrero wasn’t disrespecting Bumgarner, he was just mad at himself, for swinging at that pitch. Bumgarner didn’t like what Guerrero did, because Guerrero has already hit two HRs off of Bumgarner. I thought he only had hit one, but I read he hit two. I just know, that every guy I have seen Bumgarner say something to, was from another country, and it has been about 4 different players. I say one thing, his mom never taught him to not pick his nose, because he always has his fingers up his nose. That last game, that the Dodgers faced Bumgarner, was great. Remember the Dodgers hit three HRs aganist Bumgarner in that game. We didn’t hear a thing from him. I almost felt sorry for him, with the way he looked. I never saw him look so meek and so quiet.

  6. “We’re the deepest team in baseball. We’ll be able to afford basically any injury. A lot of teams can’t say that. Talent wise, we’re at the top.” — Adrian Gonzalez

    1. If you remember, a while back I recommended the Dodgers hire a hypnotist. I’m glad to see they are following my advice.

      Ok, jokes aside, with Crawford, Ethier, Puig, Pederson, Hernandez, Van Slyke and now maybe Thompson all vying for playing time, we again have a deep outfield. Some might call it a logjam. But it’s a deep logjam. Talented? Yeah, I think so. We have the same thing going on with starting pitching. Maybe that’s what AGon is talking about. Perhaps the injuries Adrian refers to will sort it all out. Or a trade. Knowing FAZ, they are looking at trades. I’m sure they are also scouring the injury lists of every team. By some accounts 25% of all pitchers will have TJ surgery at some point in their careers. There’s gold in those recovery rooms.

      1. The thing about our outfield, with these guys in the front office, it will be better to have the young outfielders, to be in AAA, and play, not on the bench. Because this front office have no trouble bringing a guy up from AAA, even for just a day. There are not to many players, that can come off the bench and play. I think sitting on the bench, would make a player, more tired then actually playing. It messes with a player both mentally and physically on the bench. Kind of like when someone is in the hospital, it is more tiring for the people visiting them. The good thing our fifth outfielder won’t be Heisy this year.

  7. The bat flip is something that the new generation started in little league baseball at the park.I first saw it in 2012 at a park San gabriel.

  8. Ah heck, I did a bat flip in a Church softball league back in 1965. The umpire almost threw me out of the game. But didn’t.

  9. I had a second baseman flip his middle finger at me when I was rounding the bases. He was a friend of mine so it was all good.

    Most veterans want nothing to do with that bat flip nonsense. You should never do anything that motivates the other team. Decorum. Always.

  10. It’s all great if the team is truly honest with how they’re all okay with taking less playing time and the willingness to play where ever. But to me it seems there’s a script-likeness on all those addressing the situation. But I guess even if the words got through that sharing field time would result being stronger later in the season that that word would be passed to us close to how they received it. So there’s not much reason to post this comment other than a good morning friends! That’s the best I’m able to do to clean up my nonsense.

  11. The problem with quoting any theory that originates with Craig Calcaterra is that he has a monomaniacal habit of interpreting and commenting on issues in baseball through his politically tinged race based lenses. That, and he’s smarmy and loathsome. When he insinuated that Ken Griffey Jr. was a doper because….we can never really no for sure that he didn’t….was when I realized what rhetorical depths he could sink to make his self-serving argument that baseball made too big a deal about all of this PED stuff.

    I think I get Craig, and his angle is that we live in a redneck, overly conservative, white puritanical and racist Judeo Christian culture that is repressive and stifles diversity. Puig, by being forced to assimilate into this culture by not flipping his bat after every fucking base hit is sort of like Kunte Kente being forced to go by Toby. We’ve broken Puig’s spirit like one would break a wild horse. Poor Puig!

    On the other hand, people are annoyed by the bat flipping because they see it, possibly correctly, as part of personality trait that values posturing and a reliance on talent rather than the right mental approach that seeks, through practice, to improve his craft.

    When Puig first came on the scene, pitchers were trying to get him out by throwing stuff low and away, and were amazed by his ability to drive pitches low in the strike zone. Puig’s offensive decline started when the league figured out he couldn’t get hard stuff high in the strike zone. Tell you what, Puig, if you work in the offseason to hitting that high pitch and figuring out where to throw the ball in key situations…basically learn the fundamentals of the game…I’ll have no problem with the bat flips. I kind of like them. I’m just not all too keen on the other knuckleheaded stuff….the entourage in the clubhouse and team bus and the distraction and disruption it causes, the bad work ethic…the Andrew Jones approach to off-season conditioning. Work to your potential and I’ll be ok with you.

  12. Andruw Jones. no edit. …..btw….someone mentioned Andruw Jones and the HOF in the same sentence. No way! He stole the Dodger’s money.

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