When we think about rookie outfielders the Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski likely isn’t the first name to come to mind, but the he quietly had a solid campaign:
371 At Bats
.272 Batting Average (101 Hits)
21 Home Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.334 On Base Percentage
.518 Slugging Percentage
.325 Batting Average on Balls in Play
It brings two questions immediately. First we have to determine whether or not the numbers are repeatable. Secondly, and one that may be impossible to answer today, is whether or not it’s enough to entrench him in the lineup from Opening Day 2020 and beyond.
Immediately his approach and ability with the bat makes you think that he can maintain a solid average:
- Hard – 42.7%
- Oppo% – 28.5%
- SwStr% – 11.5%
- O-Swing% – 29.2%
You can argue that there was a little too much swing and miss to his game, though the other three marks all bring promise. He also didn’t struggle making contact against any one type of pitch (Whiff%):
- Hard – 13.00%
- Breaking – 13.53%
- Offspeed – 11.65%
That all points towards a strong average, with the upside to maintain a mark above last year’s .272 (or at least match it).
The brings us to the power, which came courtesy of a believable 18.4% HR/FB. He had shown the sudden power development at Triple-A prior to being recalled (12 HR in 136 AB) and it’s very possible that he’s simply a late bloomer (he turned 29-years old during the year). Maybe he doesn’t grow past this type of power, but 20-25 HR with a solid average is going to bring value.
The other question that needs to be asked is if the left-handed hitter is more than just a platoon player. Looking at last year’s marks, the answer is a resounding yes:
- vs. LHP (82 AB) – .329/.382/.561
- vs. RHP (289 AB) – .256/.321/.505
Yastrzemski may never be more than a solid, yet unspectacular, option but in five-outfielder formats that’s the type of player who has value. He deserves a job for the Giants and should be worth having at the back of your roster.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball