Once upon a time, Route 66 took refugees from the Dust Bowl to the promise of prosperity, from the wasted farmlands of Oklahoma to the doorstep of Los Angeles. While Yasiel Puig -- Scout.com’s Player of the Week for June 3-9 -- was born more than five-and-a-half years after the route was officially removed from the United States Highway System, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been getting plenty of kicks thanks to their new No. 66.
There has been no faster home run trot -- to be true, it’s more of a sprint -- over the past week than the four very-much-not strolls that the Dodgers rookie has taken around the bases. He circles the sacks like someone’s chasing him, hunting him down with the singular intent of taking away everything that he’s accomplished in his first seven days in the Major Leagues, but so far, nothing’s caught him.
Puig didn’t waste much time introducing himself to a beleaguered Dodgers fan base in his first career big league game against San Diego, dropping a parachute shot into shallow center for his first career hit in his first career at-bat to lead off the first, and then, with Los Angeles up, 2-1, with one out in the top of the ninth, he snared a Kyle Blanks drive at the wall in right, spun on his back foot and fired back to Adrian Gonzalez at first to double off Chris Denorfia to end the game.
Down 2-1 the next night in the fifth inning, Puig made sure that the typically tardy Chavez Ravine set wasn’t left out of the excitement, belting a three-run shot in the bottom of the frame to tie things up at 5-5, before Hanley Ramirez came up with a sacrifice fly to give the Boys in Blue the lead.
Not quite done with his second-night showing, Puig cracked a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give Los Angeles a 9-6 lead, leading the Dodgers to an eventual 9-7 win.
But, Puig was far from done. After an 0-for-4 night in the series finale against San Diego -- a 6-2 loss -- Puig came up with his third multi-hit day in his first four games, going 2-for-4 with a decisive grand slam against Atlanta in a 5-0 win.
Puig has hit in six of his first seven games at the big league level, going 13-for-28 (.464) with two doubles and four homers – more than sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier over the first 62 games of the season.
Puig tied Yoenis Cespedes -- clearly, Cuba does more than just cigars right – for the most homers in the big leagues over the past week, and his 10 RBIs were the second-most, after the 12-RBI trio of David Ortiz, Paul Goldschmidt and Carlos Gonzalez. Only five other players with at least 20 at-bats over the past week had a higher average than Puig, and none had a higher slugging percentage (.964) or OPS (1.447). Oh, and he added two outfield assists on the week, just for good measure. Not bad for his first week on the job.
May 26-June 2: Domonic Brown
May 20-26: Mike Trout
May 13-19: Justin Masterson
May 6-12: Evan Longoria
April 29-May 5: Ryan Raburn
April 22-28: Jeff Locke
April 15-21: Mike Trout
April 8-14: Prince Fielder
Ryan Gorcey covers Major League Baseball and publishes CalSportsDigest.com for Scout.com and FOX Sports NEXT. Follow him on twitter at @RGBearTerritory.