Mike Yastrzemski could never have lived up to his grandfather’s legacy. But at this point, the second-year Giants outfielder is fine carving his own story.
The grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, Mike has been a solid player for the San Francisco Giants since debuting in March 2019. As the Giants look to build a new foundation and resume their winning ways, Yastrzemski is exactly the player they need.
He doesn’t have the proven resume of other players, but the younger Yastrzemski is quietly one of the National League’s best players.
Mike Yastrzemski is in his second MLB season
Three different teams drafted Mike Yastrzemski — including the Boston Red Sox, who took him in the 36th round of the 2009 MLB draft. Yastrzemski signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 and played in their minor leagues for a few years.
In March 2019, the Orioles traded Yastrzemski to the San Francisco Giants for a minor league pitcher. The injuries and inconsistency that held him back in the Orioles’ farm system vanished last year.
San Francisco promoted Yastrzemski to the majors in May 2019 and he stuck around for good. Yastrzemski hit .272 with 21 home runs, 55 RBIs, 22 doubles, and scored 64 runs across 107 games. Baseball-Reference valued him at 2.8 Wins Above Replacement.
Yastrzemski had a three-home run game in August and homered at Fenway Park, his grandfather’s old stomping grounds, on September 17.
His grandfather is Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski
For over two decades, Carl Yastrzemski was one of Major League Baseball’s best players.
An 18-time All-Star, Yastrzemski hit .285 with 452 home runs, 1,844 RBIs, and scored 1,816 runs.
Yastrzemski, now 80, retired with 3,419 hits to his name and entered the Hall of Fame in 1989.
He won the AL MVP Award in 1967 when he hit .326 with 44 home runs, 121 RBIs, and scored 112 runs for the AL champion Red Sox.
Baseball-Reference valued Carl Yastrzemski’s career WAR at 96.4, second-place all-time on the Red Sox behind Ted Williams.
Mike Yastrzemski has become one of the National League’s best players
There has been no sophomore slump for Mike Yastrzemski, who turns 30 on August 23.
Yastrzemski hit .319 with three home runs and eight RBIs in the Giants’ first 14 games, a span where they went 6-8. He hit a walk-off home run against the San Diego Padres on July 30.
Yastrzemski drew 13 walks in that span and only struck out 14 times, a marked improvement over his 32 walks and 107 strikeouts in 107 games as a rookie.
Barring an incredible stretch at a high level that would allow him to play into his 40s, Mike Yastrzemski probably won’t enter the Hall of Fame. He’ll never surpass most of the counting stats his grandfather totaled in a historic career.
But Yastrzemski is building his own legacy in the majors — and after so many minor-league games, that’s all he and his family could have asked for.