Cuban Crossovers: Yasiel Puig

This week I’m writing a series on a number of high-profile Cuban players who defected to the MLB, focusing primarily on expectation and payoff, to varying degrees. There is sometimes a tendency to over-hype international players, especially when the comparison is made based on Cuba’s somewhat spotty statistics, but the scouting has been generally solid, and a number of recent signings have worked out for Major League clubs.
Yesterday’s subject, which you can read here, was rookie slugger Jose Abreu.
Today I turn to the biggest showman of the bunch, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

Puig took the league by storm last year after seemingly (to the casual fan) coming out of nowhere. In fact, the high level of hype surrounding Puig really only got going once he was in the majors. There wasn’t the same type of anticipation as for fellow countrymen Yoenis Cespedes and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

Part of the equation is that Puig was 21 at the time, had not played for the Cuban national team and scouts had seen relatively little of Puig. Thus Puig was far from being considered one of the safest international signings, as Ben Badler of Baseball America reported two years ago. In fact, many scouts were confused by the news. “They must have seen something,” one international director said at the time. As Badler noted at the time, Puig’s scouting report was a mixed bag:

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