Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Is it possible that the Dodgers just- brought-up outfielder, Yasiel Puig, is the greatest import from Cuba since their world-renown cigars were banned by President John F. Kennedy in 1962?
He's certainly off to an outrageous start, batting .474 with five homers, 11 RBI, 11 runs, a pair of stolen bases and a 1.289 OPS in his first 15 games.
However, plenty of guys have started off with guns-a-blazin' only to see them return to their normal production level later in the season.
Puig's 27 hits through his first 15 games were the second-most in the modern era - tied with Joe DiMaggio and Terry Pendleton. Irv Waldron (28 hits in 1901) and Bo Hart (2003) are the only men with more hits over their first 15 contests.
You remember the "immortal" Hart, right?
If you said no, you are not alone.
Hart, who played second baseman and shortstop, came up with the St. Louis Cardinals on June 19, 2003 and immediately starting pounding out hits. He batted .426 in June, but .257 in July and .211 in August. He played in 11 games in 2004, was sent to the minors, and was never heard from again.
Now we are not saying that Puig's career will go this way. He's obviously got all the tools to be a fantasy star.
Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully has been behind the microphone for a long time (he started calling Dodger games in 1950, some 64 seasons ago) and he's impressed by the 22-year-old.
After Puig showed a variety of skills in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankees stadium, Scully announced, "He is unbelievable. His talent is absolutely breathtaking."
This from the 85-year-old announcer who broadcast Sandy Koufax no-hitters and Kirk Gibson's famous World Series home run.
But many hitters have started out on fire but finished at a much lower level.
Oakland's Cuban-born outfielder Yoenis Cespedes hit three home runs in his first four games last season. He finished the season with 23 homers or 20 more over the next 125 games.
Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was another hitter who exploded onto the scene as a rookie back in 2008. He batted .571 with a 1.705 OPS over his first seven games and every fantasy owner in the world was putting in a waiver claim. But Bruce's numbers would end up at .254 with 21 HR and 52 RBI that first season.
Bruce is a solid fantasy outfielder who will likely put up 30 homers for his third straight season, but he's not a fantasy superstar.
Adjust and re-adjust is the name of the game in baseball.
We are still waiting for pitchers to adjust to Puig, so at this point it's impossible to predict his true long-term fantasy value.
But I will tell you that in one of my keeper leagues, I offered Prince Fielder and heralded rookie Wil Myers for Puig and the offer was not accepted. That's some serious high expectations.
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