Dodgers' Yasiel Puig wants to be LeBron James of baseball

Monday February 23rd, 2015

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said he wants to be baseball's equivalent of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports.

Puig, 24, reported to spring training last week with pitchers and catchers ahead of his third season in the majors. He made his first All-Star Game last season and batted .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBIs.

He said he wants to step into the role of baseball's signature star this season after New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter retired following last season.

JAFFE: Top Cuban prospect Moncada joins Red Sox

Puig said he would like to be to baseball what Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are to basketball.

"I want to be like them one day," he said in Spanish.

​Puig was benched for Game 4 of the NLDS last season against the St. Louis Cardinals after striking out seven times across Games 3 and 4.

• Latos: Reds rushed my return from knee surgery

Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire said he was impressed by Puig's commitment to the new season and views him as an MVP candidate.

The Dodgers open the regular season on Monday, April 6, against the San Diego Padres.

- Paul Palladino

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.