Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig began the 2017 MLB regular season in impressive fashion. During the team’s opening series against the San Diego Padres, Puig hit three home runs in four games. The first one came on a solo shot in the third game while the other two came in the series finale.
More importantly, the Dodgers ended up winning both games in which Puig homered in. Th Dodgers will hope Puig’s strong start will lead to more consistent performances over the season. The early success can be viewed as a byproduct of Puig’s improved work ethic and approach the game. Following his first home run, Puig commented on his importance on producing results, according to Matthew Moreno of Dodger Blue:
“I need to put the ball in the air,” Puig said. “Or else I’m not going to have any money in my pockets.”
Puig has failed to produce like he did since his first two seasons and even got sent to the minors for a brief stint last season. As a result, Puig has fallen in the batting order and has primarily hit near the bottom. However, Puig appears not to be phased by his position and is focused on staying productive.
Puig has a career slash of .287/.361/.472 with 57 home runs and 194 RBI entering the new season. The Dodgers are no longer as dependent on his bat, but a strong 2017 from Puig could very well help the team reach the World Series for the first time since 1988.