Kagan: Yasiel Puig, physicist?

From SABR member David Kagan at The Hardball Times on February 5, 2019:

Yasiel Puig is now in Cincinnati. If the early results are any indication, it seems likely that Reds fans will enjoy his brand of “must see TV.” The merits of the trade were analyzed at many sites, including at FanGraphs. The conventional wisdom appears to be that the Reds got better in a very tough division, while the Dodgers – yet again – dumped salary.

There is plenty of debate about the wisdom of the Dodgers giving up Puig, whose offensive production has been consistently above average (a down 2015 resulted in 101 wRC+), but whose defense has drawn mixed reviews from the publicly available defensive metrics. The Dodgers’ apparent desire to trim payroll, and their subsequent signing of A.J. Pollock offer one explanation for the trade. I wish to suggest a better explanation for the trade.

Suppose, for a moment, that the Dodgers discovered that Puig is more interested in the physics of baseball than baseball itself. I know that, on the face of it, it sounds absurd to suggest, but hear me out. I fully realize this is a bold claim, and as astronomer Carl Sagan once put it, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” which I intend to provide.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/yasiel-puig-physicist/

Originally published: February 8, 2019. Last Updated: February 8, 2019.