Potential Mike Yastrzemski injury creates a huge void for the SF Giants

St. Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

SF Giants center fielder Mike Yastrzemski appears to be heading for the injured list after sustaining a hamstring strain in Sunday's 6-4 loss against the San Diego Padres. This is one area where the Giants are thin on depth and it creates a pretty big void.

Potential Mike Yastrzemski injury creates a huge void for the SF Giants

Giants manager Gabe Kapler confirmed that Yastrzemski suffered a hamstring strain. The 32-year-old elaborated on the injury after the game to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area:

First, an MRI is usually an indicator that a trip to the injured list is imminent. Secondly, Yastrzemski's description of the injury does not give off the impression that he will be ready within a week or two. The Giants are hoping that he can return soon, but the discussion shifts to how do the Giants replace Yastrzesmki's production?

San Francisco is in a tough position because the internal options either do not have the track or the experience to suggest that they can fill the void. It bears mentioning that despite Yastrzemski's struggles at the plate in recent seasons, he is still the best center fielder on the 40-man roster in terms of offensive and defensive performance.

Plus, the left-handed bat was off to a really nice start, slashing .292/.333/.521 with five home runs, 12 RBI, and 16 runs in 102 plate appearances. He was an important cog to the lineup before the injury.

Austin Slater is the most obvious internal replacement. He has a lot of experience in center field and does well against left-handed pitching. That said, playing him on an everyday basis would expose him to some righties as well.

The 30-year-old has not performed well in those matchups. Overall, he has posted a solid .751 OPS across seven seasons, so the Giants might just need to take the hit in the lineup. That said, he struggled badly in center field last year as he was worth -9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), -6.5 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), and +1 Outs Above Average (OAA). It is a little bit of a mixed bag based on the metrics, but two of three point to him being a below-average center fielder.

He should be in line for playing time in center field. The right-handed bat just returned from the injured list after sustaining a elbow ailment in spring training. The Giants have been delicate with his playing time in the outfield so far, so he may not even be ready to handle the position in back-to-back games.

Other options on the 40-man roster include Brett Wisely, Cal Stevenson, and Luis Matos. Bryce Johnson is on the 40-man roster, but is out with a concussion for the time being.

Wisely is brand new to the position, Stevenson has struggled to the tune of a .478 OPS in 71 plate appearances in the majors, and Matos has not played above Double-A. Heliot Ramos could be an option as well, but the Giants have seemed hesitant in using him out there in his brief stints with the club previously.

Whichever option they go with, there are going to be question marks in the field or at the plate. With Yastrzemski, he gives them decent all-around contributions. It is not the most promising predicament, but the Giants are likely going to have to plan for yet another injury in the early going.