Count Jonathan Papelbon among the Yasiel Puig haters.
Puig has taken the majors by storm since breaking into the Dodgers lineup just under a month ago, prompting many around the sport to trumpet his All-Star candidacy. Papelbon, frankly, thinks all this talk is ridiculous.
“To me, it’s an absolute joke. It’s really kind of stupid if you ask me,” the Phillies closer said on MLB Network Radio on Tuesday (as transcribed by CBS Philly). “The guy’s got a month, I don’t even think he’s got a month in the big leagues, and just comparing him to this and that, and saying he’s going to make the all-star team, that’s a joke to me. It’s just really what happens in baseball when … to me it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight, nine, ten plus years, and it kind of does them an injustice because they’ve worked so hard to stay there.”
Puig has put up astounding numbers through his first 26 games (.436/.467/.713 slash line, seven home runs, 16 RBIs), but he would not be the first major leaguer to fizzle and disappear after a hot start.
The 22-year-old’s electric style of play (those outfield assists are really something) and the fact that his success has come in the major media market of Los Angeles explain the sizable amount of All-Star support he has received, but it’s not surprising that someone like Papelbon would not want a qualified veteran’s spot taken by this unproven up-and-comer.
It’s highly unlikely that Puig will be voted in conventionally — he is not on the official ballot, and would thus need to be voted in as a write-in candidate — but he can be placed on the squad by NL manager Bruce Bochy (who manages the rival Giants, making this option also unlikely) or winning the NL’s “Final Vote,” for which the finalists have yet to be announced.