Yasiel, he can
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's July 8, Kids In Sports issue. Subscribe today!
YOU'VE HEARD THE HYPE: Since his June 3 call-up, Yasiel Puig has been compared to everyone from Roberto Clemente to Bryce Harper. You've marveled at the numbers: The 22-year-old outfielder is the first player in the modern era, which began in 1900, to record at least 27 hits and five home runs in his first 15 games in the Show. But how, exactly, has he done it? We asked John Brenkus and the ESPN Sport Science team to break down the swing of the 6'3", 245-pound Puig and compare it with those of the game's best power hitters. The findings: His talent isn't just special, it's downright legendary.
85.9Max speed, in mph, of Puig's swing -- above average but not elite. It's his bat control that has allowed him to go yard on four pitch types, ranging from 72 to 94 mph.
MLB comparable: Albert Pujols
45Degrees angle Puig turns his back to the pitch as the ball nears, 10 degrees more than the MLB norm. The result is an upper body spring-loaded for max torque and acceleration.
MLB comparable: Carlos Gonzalez
.03Seconds Puig's bat spends in the hittable area over the plate, despite a rather slow 0.16 of a second from the start of his swing to contact. Thank you, acceleration!
MLB comparable: Miguel Cabrera
140Degrees Puig bends his back leg, giving him a straighter stance than most sluggers, who bend at 120 degrees on average and rely more on the lower body for power.
MLB comparable: Chris Davis
675Peak angular velocity, in degrees per second, of torso rotation during Puig's home run swing -- simply wicked. No surprise that his dingers have averaged nearly 400 feet.
MLB comparable: Giancarlo Stanton
All data through June 19.