The San Francisco Giants found a diamond in the rough when they traded for Mike Yastrzemski during the offseason.
When the 2019 season began, Yastrzemski wasn’t even on the MLB roster.
He was sent to Triple-A Sacramento to start the season and at the time it was unclear if and when he would see time in the majors.
Now he’s a fixture in the MLB lineup.
His ability to play all three outfield positions and hit anywhere in the lineup has quickly made him a key contributor. In fact, if it wasn’t for a loaded National League rookie field led by guys like Pete Alonso, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mike Soroka, Yastrzemski might find himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
Team president Farhan Zaidi deserves a lot of credit for finding this diamond in the rough. He was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league pitcher Tyler Herb, who does not currently rank among the team’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com.
However, the question remains whether he is a part of the long-term picture or just a stop-gap option in the outfield.
There are a plethora of viable free agent outfield options the Giants could pursue this offseason if Zaidi decides to go in a different direction.
At 28 years old, Yastrzemski is on the older end of the rookie scale, and his limited track record of success as a career minor leaguer raises some questions about the sustainability of his performance.
So far this season, he’s hitting .282/.330/.560 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 283 plate appearances. A 20-homer season is not out of the question, which is something the Giants have not had since 2015, and the fact that he didn’t debut until May 25 makes that all the more impressive.
Regardless of whether the San Francisco Giants have him penciled in for an everyday role in 2020, rookie outfielder Mike Yastrzemski has proven he can produce at the MLB level. He should have a role on the team going forward, whether it’s as an offensive-minded fourth outfielder or an everyday option.