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Making the Case for Yasiel Puig to Win the 2013 All-Star Game NL Final Vote

DENVER, CO - JULY 3:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 3, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Puig left the game in the sixth inning after suffering an injury in the fifth inning, hitting the wall while making a catch. The Dodgers defeated the Rockies 10-8.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Josh SchochAnalyst IIIJuly 6, 2013

The question of whether or not Yasiel Puig will be in the All-Star Game was finally answered on Saturday—no.

OK, maybe it's premature to say that Puig won't play in the Midsummer Classic, but he needs your help. He was named to the Final Vote for the NL reserves, and it's up to the fans to decide if he makes it or not.

The 22-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers phenom out of Cuba took MLB by storm when he made his debut on June 3, and just over a month later, he was snubbed from making his first All-Star Game.

The debate about whether he deserved a spot in the All-Star Game has been one of sports' hottest topics over the last couple of weeks, and the simple truth is that he deserved it more than almost any other player in the league.

Through the first 30 games of his MLB career, Puig is batting .420 with eight home runs and 19 RBI.

He has been the best player in MLB since he joined the Dodgers, as evidenced by this fact: He was the first player in history to win Rookie of the Month and Player of the Month in his first month in the majors.

Yasiel Puig is the first to win a Player of the Month Award in his first month in the big leagues since the award was instituted in 1958.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 3, 2013

Puig is arguably the best five-tool player in the game today, and he has shown it in all 30 games he's played.

In his first game, Puig demonstrated his cannon of an arm. He rifled a throw from right to first with pinpoint accuracy to complete a game-ending double play against the San Diego Padres.

This kid is also one of the fastest players in the game, as seen in this hustle double against the New York Yankees. He smacked a hit up the middle that would have been a single for anyone else, but he is so fast that he stretched it into a double with ease.

We can't forget about Puig's power either.

In just his second game, Puig blasted a three-run home run to tie the game for the first dinger of his MLB career. He then came right back and hit a two-run shot in the next inning to extend the Dodgers' lead to 9-6.

Oh, and did I mention that he hit his first career grand slam just two days later?

Finally, let's take a look at Puig's play in right field.

The 6'3", 245-pound powerhouse isn't afraid to crash into walls if it'll help him make a catch, and this play against the Colorado Rockies shows just how good he is with the glove.

With so many tools, how could this guy fail to make the All-Star Game?

The Midsummer Classic isn't about who's had the best first half of the season; it's about who the best players are—and Puig is among MLB's best.

Because the All-Star Game influences home-field advantage in the World Series, it is much more important than any other All-Star Game in pro sports. Because of that, the game shouldn't feature players solely because of their production throughout the year, but also for what they can do for their respective leagues.

Puig had opposition when it came to making the All-Star Game, namely Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Neither of their arguments against Puig made sense.

Scioscia was one of the first people in baseball to openly oppose Puig, saying he "needs to go a little farther to earn it," according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. He added:

There's a pull to bring the best players to the game because of the bearing it has on home-field advantage in the World Series. That's going to give him a deeper look than maybe it would have in any other situation. 

Scioscia later called Puig "as dynamic a player as you're going to see in the major leagues."

Therefore, by Scioscia's definition of the All-Star Game and of Puig, the Cuban phenom should be in the game, right?

Papelbon strongly opposed Puig's inclusion in the Midsummer Classic, saying it would be an "injustice" and a "joke" if he were to make the roster in an interview with MLB Network Radio (via Mike Oz of Yahoo! Sports).

It's easy for Papelbon to say that Puig shouldn't be an All-Star because he hasn't had the misfortune of pitching against him.

Puig leads all MLB hitters with at least 15 at-bats in batting average and is second in OPS behind only Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, who led all All-Star candidates in votes.

He is one of the most feared hitters in the game right now, and any pitcher who has faced him would likely contend that Puig should not only play in the game but start in it.

He's that good.

At this point, it's up to the fans to decide whether Puig will take part in the festivities or watch from home.

To have one of the most gifted players in decades sit on the couch during the game is unacceptable, and it's up to you to vote for him to go to Flushing.

 

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