After a 2020 season in which Mike Yastrzemski finished eighth in the National League MVP voting, the expectations were understandably high for the SF Giants outfielder heading into the 2021 season. It is fair to say that he has not fully realized those expectations, but he is quickly turning his season around.
SF Giants: Mike Yastrzemski is starting to meet 2021 expectations
The big caveat to Yastrzemski’s season so far has been injuries. The left-handed bat was hit on the hand at the end of spring training and did not look fully healthy when the season began.
In addition to this, he sustained an injury to his right thumb when he slammed into the right field fence at Oracle Park earlier this month. This put him on the injured list and the time he spent recovering appears to be paying dividends.
When looking at Yastrzemski’s production earlier this season, it is not as if he was struggling at the plate. He was driving the ball and getting on base, but not at the consistency that Giants fans have come to expect.
Prior to the thumb injury, the 30-year-old had slashed .222/.332/.456 with 15 doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 15 RBI. He was generating good value with the bat. However, he has been much better than that as he has posted an .878 OPS since he debuted with San Francisco in 2019.
With that being said, Yastrzemski has been on a tear since returning from the injured list. This includes a clutch grand slam to help cap off an impressive 9-8 comeback against the Arizona Diamondbacks last week.
In his last 10 games, the power-hitting outfielder has slashed .306/.390/.667 with three home runs, four doubles, and 11 RBI in 41 plate appearances. Seven of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases, so Yastrzemski appears to be fully healthy and seeing the ball well.
In that time, his OPS has jumped up by 49 points and is now sitting at a cool .837 mark. His numbers are beginning to reflect what Giants fans have come to expect.
The Giants have the best record in baseball at 46-26 and they have done it without Yastrzemski consistently producing at the level he had shown in 2020. He seems to be changing the narrative on that last detail as his bat has been on a tear lately.
San Francisco has one of the best offenses in the National League with one of its key bats quickly turning the corner on 2021. The offense only stands to get better as Yastrzemski has proven that he can carry a team when he is locked in.