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MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Puig next in Dodgers' long line of rookie phenoms

Puig next in Dodgers' long line of rookie phenoms

Yasiel Puig is the poster boy for the Dodgers' ownership group.

For the splash that was made by all the trades the Dodgers have done in the past year, it is Puig who underscores the long-term foundation upon which the franchise wants to build.

He's the product of a financially strong franchise putting their money and efforts into scouting and signing players. It's what Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten refers to as getting back to the Dodger Way.

Puig certainly has become the hot topic in baseball circles.

There is the debate over whether, after one month, he should be given a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

There's a growing rumble about him moving into the lead in the midseason talks on the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting. His primary competition right now is from a group of pitchers, including fellow Cuban defector Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins, Dodgers teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu and St. Louis right-hander Shelby Miller.

The Dodgers definitely have made their mark on the Rookie of the Year Award, which was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in 1987 in honor of the man who broke baseball's color barrier and earned the first Rookie of the Year award in 1947.

The Dodgers, including Robinson, have taken 16 of the 66 Rookie of the Year Awards given to NL players .

The Dodgers had four consecutive winners from 1979-82 (Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Sax), and then broke that record with five a row from 1992-96 (Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth).

The Rookie of the Year Award, however, is no guarantee of greatness.

There have been 132 winners, including a combined award for the American League and NL players in 1947 and '48. Twice co-rookies of the year were honored -- pitchers Butch Metzger of San Diego and Pat Zachry of Cincinnati in the NL in 1976, and shortstop Alfredo Griffin of Toronto and third baseman John Castino of Minnesota in '79.

Only 14 of the 132 have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose, who won the NL Award in 1963, is ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration.

Robinson is one of nine NL winners to be honored in Cooperstown, joined by Willie Mays (1951), Frank Robinson ('56), Orlando Cepeda ('58), Willie McCovey ('59), Billy Williams ('61), Tom Seaver ('67), Johnny Bench ('66) and Andre Dawson ('77).

The list of AL winners eventually elected to the Hall of Fame includes Luis Aparicio (1956), Rod Carew ('67), Carlton Fisk ('72), Eddie Murray ('77) and Cal Ripken, Jr., ('82).

Did you know:

• Arizona (45-41) is the only team in the NL West with a winning record. What is the worst record for a postseason team? San Diego won the NL West with an 82-80 record in 2005, and was swept by St. Louis in the NL Division Series. Arizona finished second in the NL West that season at 77-85.

• The D-backs lead the Majors with 18 blown saves, which is five more than Arizona's season total in 2011, when it won the NL West. The bullpen struggles are a factor in the D-backs having an MLB-best 20 wins in their final at-bat, including a 15-inning win against the Mets on Thursday, when Arizona relievers failed to protect leads in the 13th and 14th innings.

• Having cut his dreadlocks to comply with Texas' Minor League rules, Manny Ramirez is expected to make his debut at Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday. The Rangers feel Ramirez is a no-risk gamble in light of their need for a right-handed-hitting run producer. The Rangers went into Saturday a half-game back of AL West-leading Oakland. Texas had scored three or fewer runs in 40 games (9-31). Yes, Ramirez would have to DH, which is the job Lance Berkman was signed to fill, but Berkman, bothered by a sore right knee of late, is hitting .181 with a .264 slugging percentage, two home runs and six RBIs since June 1.

• Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera continues to put together a special set of accomplishments. Seeking to become the first right-handed hitter to win three consecutive batting titles since Rogers Hornsby won six in a row with the St. Louis Cardinals (1920-25), Cabrera is the only player to have three games in a season in which he went 4-for-4 with at least two home runs, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Elias reports that 16 others have done it twice in a season.

From out of Left Field

Stats guru Bill Arnold reports that Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Moore could join Herb Score (1955), Sandy Koufax ('60), Sam McDowell ('64), Nolan Ryan ('74, '76-78) and Randy Johnson ('91-92) as the only qualifying pitchers in the Majors to average at least 8.6 strikeouts and 5.0 walks per nine innings in a season. Moore went into the weekend averaging 8.84 strikeouts and 4.9 walks per nine.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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