Should have been Puig
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I'm having second thoughts about democracy.

Really, America? Freddie Freeman?

This is the man you chose to represent the National League in next week's All- Star Game?

Let me be clear. I'm not anti-Freeman.

If you ask me, Andrew Luck's long-lost brother has done pretty well for himself. (Have you seen these two together? Until I see the DNA tests, I'm convinced that they were separated at birth.)

Freeman is hitting .300 for a first-place team (the Atlanta Braves). What more could you ask for?

But this is the All-Star Game we're talking about. The All-Star Game is about entertainment. I want 400-foot homers and leaping catches. I want guys diving headfirst into home plate.

Any Community fans in the room? Here's a quote from one of my favorite characters, Jeff Winger: "To me, religion is like Paul Rudd. I see the appeal, and I would never take it away from anyone. But I would also never stand in line for it."

Freddie Freeman is baseball's version of Paul Rudd.

Which leads me to my next question: how in the world did Yasiel Puig not make the NL All-Star team?

He's the most exciting player in baseball and arguably one of the sport's best all-around players.

The 22-year-old from Cuba should have been a slam dunk for next week's Midsummer Classic at Citi Field. Yet, when balloting closed for the NL's Final Vote on Thursday, almost 20 million people had picked Freeman instead of Puig, who earned 15.5 million votes.

I just can't wrap my head around it. Is it because Freeman is the better hugger (he said he'd hug anyone who voted for him)? Or is it because of the nasty smear campaign the Diamondbacks ran against Puig earlier in the week (Miguel Montero called him "stupid" while Ian Kennedy described the phenom as "arrogant")?

Who knows? What I do know is that Puig was far and away the better choice.

Do you know how many records this guy has set over the last month? I'm not sure of the number, but it's enough to make Mike Trout look like an amateur.

Puig crushed 44 hits in his first month in the major leagues. That's second all-time to Joe DiMaggio, who, last we checked, was a pretty decent ballplayer in his heyday. And even Joltin' Joe didn't win Player of the Month his first month in the bigs.

Puig's a 16-ounce Porterhouse and Freeman is the kid's menu.

Seriously, how can you compare these two? Puig's batting average is 84 points higher, his slugging percentage is 153 points more robust and his OPS ... well let's just say he has a comfortable lead (1.060 to .869).

If it's home runs you crave, Puig can do that, too. He's blasted eight of them in his 36 games this season. Freeman has nine in 79 contests.

Puig ranks 12th on ESPN's player rater over the last 30 days. Freeman isn't even in the top 75 (84th).

I can't believe we're even having this conversation. It's only been a month, but Puig might already be one of the best defensive right fielders in all of baseball. He tracks down fly balls with reckless abandon, his arm's a rifle and man, can he jump.

Freeman, on the other hand, is a terrible fielder. His .991 fielding percentage is third-worst among qualified first baseman. Only Joey Votto (10 miscues) and Adrian Gonzalez (eight "my bads") have committed more errors at first base this season.

The sweet-swinging Dodgers outfielder is a master of consistency. In fact, he's practically slump proof. The closest he came to cooling off was a 3- for-17 dry spell earlier this month.

Freeman wrote the book on cold streaks. During a particularly trying period in mid-June, he went hitless six times in a seven-game span (2-for-24 with nine strikeouts).

So who do you want representing your league: lightning-fast Puig or the lead- footed Freeman?

Puig already has five steals and he's only been in the league a month. Mitt Romney was still running for president the last time Freeman stole a base.

I get it. Puig's young and he has to pay his dues. But on Tuesday night when you're watching a 0-0 snooze-fest you're going to wish Puig was playing.

Do me a favor and don't show this article to Paul Rudd.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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