But nearing Puig's one-year anniversary in the big leagues, Mattingly had high praise for the 23-year-old Cuban.
"We feel like, right now, Yasiel is the best right fielder in baseball," Mattingly said on Monday. "This guy dominates right field."
Puig made a fantastic catch against the Mets last week, but it's his arm that has most impressed Mattingly.
"The way he plays right field, he really stops the running game from first to third," Mattingly said.
Regarding a possible move to center, Mattingly added: "The whole goal of our team is to put our best club out there and play our best defense. If we move Yasiel to center, then we've weakened ourselves in right and he has to make an adjustment to center, and we don't know if he's going to be the best center fielder. We feel like we have the best right fielder in baseball right now.
Puig has four outfield assists this season, fourth among major league outfielders, and hasn't made an error. He is also hitting .345 with 10 homers, 38 RBIs and a 1.055 OPS, which is tops among right fielders — a group that includes Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins.
The Dodgers (28-24) have won five of their last seven and are 4.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West entering Tuesday's game against the Reds. SI WIRE: Rangers 1B Prince Fielder undergoes successful neck surgery, out 3-4 months