Why one of baseball's best young players doesn't get his due.
After nine games, Yasiel Puig’s video archive at MLB.com comes close to filling four pages, at 12 clips per page. Marcell Ozuna, another exciting 22-year-old right fielder who’s hit .324/.364/.462 since his arrival in April, is still stuck on page three. Almost every play Puig touches turns into a highlight. If he isn’t hitting homers, he’s recording outfield assists; if he’s not in the game, it’s because he’s just been ejected from a bench-clearing brawl. Whatever he does, it happens at the center of the spotlight. It took him one week to be named National League Player of the Week, and it took him four words to appear in this article, which isn’t even about him. More than the amateur draft, more than Biogenesis (fortunately), baseball in June has been about Yasiel Puig.
So when Puig was thrown out attempting to advance to third on a Jerry Hairston single on Monday, it wasn’t immediately clear who the star of the story was: Puig, or Gerardo Parra, the player who made the throw. It took another viewing to determine that Puig’s presence in yet another highlight was just a coincidence, that it was Parra who’d earned Puig some extra airtime on SportsCenter, not the other way around. The throw was perfect, an on-the-fly strike to Martin Prado that nailed the speedy Puig in plenty of time,
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Ben and Sam discuss how deep a hole the Blue Jays have dug, then talk about whether it's fair for people to gloat about the Diamondbacks' decision to trade Justin Upton based on what's happened so far this season.
The second installment of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we continue with a look at the group of six teams with the highest odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.
Was Arizona's off-season search for "gritty" players really just a commitment to making more contact?
When you talk about changing a roster for the grittier, as Kevin Towers has rather openly during a bizarre offseason at the helm of the Diamondbacks, you’re going to get accused of using “grit” as a code word. Normally, it’s racial. The fact that the Diamondbacks’ push for grit coincided with the trading of their two prominent black players didn’t help their look.
But what if it was a different kind of code word? What if it did coincide with something quantifiable on the baseball field in how they made over their team?
It's a lot of fun to talk about Justin Upton being traded, which might be why reporters talk about it so much, and it might be why Kevin Towers talks about it so much.
At this point, it sort of seems as though Justin Upton has always been available, as if he was born on the trading block or at least debuted there before he made the majors. Upton trade rumors are as much an annual offseason ritual as Scott Boras’ binders, debates about Aroldis Chapman’s role, or worries about whether the Marlins are bad for baseball. He hasn’t actually been traded yet, not even once, but we’ve grown used to Upton existing in a perpetual state of about-to-be-dealt.
Difficult as it might be to believe, it’s been less than 2 ½ years since Upton was at the opposite end of the availability spectrum: untouchable. On March 3, 2010, the Diamondbacks signed Upton to a six-year, $51.25 million extension that runs through 2015. Just over three months later, on June 13, Nick Cafardo included this in the notes section of his column for the Boston Globe: