The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they will be promoting top prospect Yasiel Puig to the major leagues on Monday. Puig, 22, will join the team from Double-A Chattanooga and will take over the center field role in Matt Kemp's absence. To make room on the 25-man roster, right-hander Matt Magill was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.
In the eleven months since he signed the largest deal in major league history for a Cuban defector (7 years, $42 million), Puig has ascended rapidly through the Dodgers' system, appearing in only 63 minor league games. After hitting .354 with 5 HR and 15 RBI in 23 games split between rookie ball and High-A in 2012, Puig spent spring training with the big league club and began to catch the attention of the entire league.
In 27 games for the Dodgers in spring training, Puig posted an astonishing .517 batting average and 1.328 OPS while tallying 3 HR and 11 RBI. Calls from the Dodgers' fanbase for Puig's immediate promotion began at the end of the spring, but the team decided to play it safe and send him to the minors to continue his development. In 40 games with Double-A Chattanooga, Puig has hit .313 with 8 HR and 37 RBI, and recently shifted to center in the wake of Kemp's right hamstring injury.
The disappointing Dodgers, who sit in the cellar of the National League West with a 23-32 record, are in desperate need of a spark and hope that Puig will be the answer. After a start to the season marred by injuries, controversial comments from manager Don Mattingly, and a great deal of under-performance from a roster filled with superstars, the Dodgers will turn to Puig in hopes that his raw talent and youthful exuberance will wake up the rest of the team as they try to get back into the playoff picture.