Trout or Puig?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It was just last Friday that my split-season baseball fantasy league held its second-half draft.

Near the end of the auction-style draft, I was left with a dilemma which I'm sure many others will have to deal with over the next few seasons.

Who to choose - Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig?

I was in a controlling financial situation, so the choice was mine.

Let's evaluate the two players.

Trout is the heart of the Los Angeles Angels offense. In his first full season - 2012 - he exploded onto the scene by leading the league in runs scored (129) and stolen bases (49), while batting .326 with 30 homers, 83 RBI and a .963 OPS. He was magnificent from his call up on April 28 through July, but his pace slowed later in the season. Still, there was no one better.

His second season started slowly as he batted just .261 with a .766 OPS in April, but he quickly righted the ship and batted .337 over the final five months. His home run total was similar to his rookie season, but his stolen bases were down 32 percent (33).

Trout's early 2014 production was slightly below his first two seasons and he has been running less.

At the time of the draft, Trout was batting .294 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and six stolen bases. That was a pace to hit 29 homers (he hit 30 and 27 in his first two seasons), but swipe "just" 15 bases.

Meanwhile, Puig has been busy plying his trade on the other side of town.

The Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder has been just as productive as he was in his rookie season, when Puig posted a .319 batting average with 19 home runs, 42 RBI, 66 runs and 11 stolen bases in just 104 games.

In the crowded Dodgers outfield (they have five high-quality hitting outfielders in Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke), Puig has been the one constant, playing almost every day.

Puig's batting average (.325) and OPS (.965) are up in 2014 and he'll likely end up hitting more home runs.

He's a human-highlight film every time he steps on the field.

But is he a better fantasy option than Trout?

When it came down to the final decision, I chose Trout.

Now in his third season, I felt Trout's consistent past performance was more reliable that the 160 games we've seen out of Puig.

Plus, Trout is the better base runner. Puig has a combined 18 steals to date, but has been caught 15 times for a 54 percent success rate. Trout has 95 stolen bases on his resume and been caught just 12 times for an 88 percent success rate.

Finally, the way Puig plays the game - all-out - is admirable, but reminds me of Bryce Harper, who has spent more time in the doctor's office than the outfield.

I can't wait to see how this plays out.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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