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Ben Reiter Discusses Yasiel Puig, Ryan Braun

Sports Illustrated’s Ben Reiter joined Jeff Thurn on Wednesday’s edition of Overtime.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Yasiel Puig is the best right fielder in the game. Thurn asks Reiter if those comments are accurate? 

“Yes, I think they are. I wrote about Puig on SI.com a week and a half ago, the thing with this guy coming into the year, it was like, oh, this is the year he was going to get his come up. His antics, his wild style of play, and it’s one thing to do it for five months like he did it for last year and another thing to do it when the league is familiar with you for a full course of a season. Well, guess what, Yasiel Puig is better than he was last year when he set Puig-mania burning through L.A. He’s second in the N.L hitting nearly .350, second in RBIs, and his OPS I believe is over 1.000, which is crazy. This is not a fluke. He’s done it by becoming a more disciplined player. Last year, he was swinging at a ton of pitches outside of the strike zone. This year, he’s improved in that regard, as far as percentage at balls swung outside of the strike zone. His drop is greater than any player in the league. This is a guy that learned exactly what the Dodgers want to learn, which is to play with that enthusiasm and excitement, but in a disciplined sort of way. He’s a force, and Mattingly is absolute right that he is the best right fielder in baseball.”

Reiter writes about Puig here on SI.com entitled in a piece called, “In second season, Yasiel Puig continues to amaze, and even improve.” 

In 48 games, and 181 at-bats, Puig is batting .343/.441/.608, and has a 1.049 on-base percentage. He also has 10 home runs, 12 doubles, 62 hits, and 38 RBI’s.

Reiter on why Braun is flying under the radar after serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs last year?

“Well, you’re right. It’s more than anecdotal evidence as to your point. The All-Star voting just came out and guess who has the most votes among National League All-Stars? Ryan Braun, No. 1. There you go, and empirical evidence of exactly what you are talking about. I think part of it is Braun played in a smaller market than Alex Rodriguez. He’s never been as unlikeable of a character as Rodriguez was despite his actions. Another part of it might be PED fatigue and A-Rod before, there hadn’t been big fish before, but held Bud Selig nailed to the wall. I think he’s the trophy, and now the fans are tired of this thing and getting up in arms about it. Seems to be the case if you look at the All-Star voting.”

To hear more of Reiter’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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*For comments and story ideas, email Sam at tastadsam@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

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