Yasiel Puig robs Wilmer Flores of extra-base hit with diving catch (video)
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig made the sure-fire catch of the year on Thursday when he robbed New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores of a sure-fire extra-base hit by making an improbable and beyond-exceptional diving catch in right-center field during the 2nd inning.
Puig prevented an early go-ahead run and nearly doubled-off Lucas Duda at first, who was almost at third base, so sure he was that the ball was going to shoot the gap.
Puig’s teammates and even Mets manager Terry Collins were blown away by the sprinting, diving snag (via MLB.com):
“Oh man, I can’t believe he caught it,” said [Matt] Kemp, using slightly more colorful language. “I was shocked. I was screaming. One of the best catches I’ve seen in a long time.”
Said starting pitcher Zack Greinke: “It doesn’t happen very often where a ball is going to be a double and someone runs down something that shouldn’t be run down. Puig is one guy where it’s possible, and even this was pretty amazing.”
Said Mets manager Terry Collins: “I’ve only seen one other catch better than that, and it was one Jim Edmonds made diving over his head on the warning track. That’s probably the second-best catch I’ve ever seen. I thought he was going to double up [Lucas] Duda at first, too. So it was pretty good.”
But all was not rosy in the commentary. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hedged his praise of the supremely talented Puig, saying, “Yasiel is on the aggressive end,” when discussing some questionable baserunning by the second-year superstar.
Puig may hand-wringing and sighs of disappointment among Dodgers coaches and fans with some of his on-field and off-field antics, but there are few players who have exhibited so much ability at the plate and in the field at such a young age, not to mention a seemingly untapped potential remaining in the tank.
Maybe we should just enjoy Puig for what he is — an amazing young baseball player with who the best is probably yet to come — instead of trying to figure out ways to knock him down a peg or two for every misstep.