In a single game, Yasiel Puig demonstrated the risks and rewards of aggressive baserunning. Puig went first-to-third on an infield hit, yet cost the Los Angeles Dodgers a run later in the game when he tried to advance from second to third on a sacrifice fly. In both instances, he forced the defense to make a perfectly-executed play to get him out, and there is value in taking those kinds of chances, especially with the Dodgers current personnel.
With Puig and Dee Gordon, the Dodgers have two of the most dynamic players in the game. Gordon is quite possibly the fastest man in baseball, and Puig has great speed for a player of his size. Each player has run the base paths with incredible aggression so far this season, and each has put a great deal of pressure on the opposition.
The sport seems to decry this type of aggression, however, as baserunning errors and acts of over-aggression are often magnified in terms of the cost of the play. The aggression that Puig and Gordon play with — and the pressure they consistently put on the opposition — has a significant value. This is not to say that Puig should be completely let loose, but the Dodgers should consider being even more aggressive with players like Puig and Gordon, and, to an extent, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford.
These types of risks do not always result in a reward. There will be instances in which opportunities for runs are missed, but there will be more of those opportunities due to the increased aggression. In the case of Puig’s attempted advancement from second to third, the Dodgers clearly lost out on a run. As a philosophy, however, the end result of aggressive plays such as this will likely result in a greater confidence, intimidation and, most importantly, wins.
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