Yasiel Puig is a professional baseball player from Cuba. He used to play for Major League Baseball (MLB). His teams were the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and the Cleveland Indians. As of 2021, he plays for the El Aguila de Veracruz in the Mexican League.
In addition to the MLB and the Mexican League, Puig also represented his home country of Cuba in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship which was held in Edmonton.
Athlete Bio and Personal Life
Puig was born on December 7, 1990. His full name is Yasiel Puig Valdes. Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, he has a sister. His father worked as an engineer. Puig started playing baseball when he was nine years old. He stands 6 feet 2 inches or 188 cm tall and his listed weight is 240 lbs. He is a right-handed player and he bats and throws with his right hand.
He tried to defect from Cuba a number of times. In 2019, he became a citizen of the United States of America. He has three kids. In July 2020, he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Cuban Career and Defection
He represented Cuba in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship which was held in Edmonton. The team went home with a bronze medal after winning third place.
From 2008 to 2009, Puig played for the Cuban National Series with the Cienfuegos. He also played for his birth country at the 2011 World Port Tournament.
Puig started trying to defect from Cuba to Mexico in 2009. In total, he tried to do it 13 times. This was the only way that he could be eligible to sign a contract with the MLB. With a good deal of struggle, he successfully defected and he was signed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.
Puig signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had a seven-year contract that was worth $42 million. He played for the minors before he was eventually promoted to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster. Some of the teams he played for in the minors include the Cucamonga Quakes, the Mesa Solar Sox, and the Chattanooga Lookouts.
In 2013, he was recalled to play for the Dodgers. He debuted in the MLB in June 2013. For his first outing with them, he was named the National League Player of the Week. He was also a nominee for the National League Rookie of the Year.
He was named to the All-Star team in 2014 and he finished the season with 16 home runs and a batting average of 0.296. In 2015, he began having issues with his hamstring and was made to sit out several games. Issues with his hamstring continued through to 2016. This reduced his playing time and he was later optioned to the Oklahoma City Dodgers. He rejoined the team by the end of the year.
Puig was put on suspension in 2017 following an incident with some fans. He successfully appealed the suspension and went on to play with the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. He struggled through 2018 and by the end of the year, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds later traded him to the Cleveland Indians.
In August 2019, he was suspended following a brawl. In 2021, he announced that he had signed to play for the El Aguila de Veracruz.
Career Highlights and Awards
2014 - All-Star
MLB Statistics (Through 2019)
Batting average: 0.277
Home runs: 132
Runs batted in: 415
Bronze medal - 2008 Edmonton Team, World Junior Baseball Championship