The San Francisco Giants are in for a rough 2020 season. However, one bright spot on their roster is the clear front runner for team MVP — Mike Yastrzemski.
Few MLB teams enjoyed more success during the 2010s than the San Francisco Giants. The team’s three World Series Championships (2010, 2012, and 2014) were the most in baseball during the decade.
They also helped reestablish the Giants as one of the premier franchises in the sport.
As the 2020s begin, the team is in the midst of an obvious rebuild. Their roster is currently littered with players like Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Evan Longoria. Each are talented, but past their prime.
However, fans in the Bay Area still have many reasons for hope. The team expects to have valuable draft capital to couple with their major market and available funds to spend on major free agents.
While the San Francisco Giants strive to rebuild a contender, the team should be especially excited about one current player in particular — outfielder Mike Yastrzemski. Here’s why the 29-year-old third-generation star will be the team’s MVP this in 2020.
Yastrzemski enjoyed a breakout season during his first taste of major-league baseball in 2019. The longtime prospect burst on to the scene to the tune of 21 home runs and 55 RBI with a .272 batting average in 371 at-bats.
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While the outfielder is a bit older than most second-year players, he figures to be a huge part of the team’s present and future.
A season of “juiced baseballs” led to record power numbers across the board in 2019. While this trend of power-seeking is something that most teams and players are specifically working to develop, it is likely that the overall volume of home runs drops off as play resumes.
This may prevent Yaz from taking another step forward as a power hitter. However, he should still be a threat for 20 homers in 2020.
A phenomenal 2019 season means that Yastrzemski should be ready for even bigger things in 2020. Now that he has had a full season to adjust to MLB pitching, there is a good chance he can improve his hitting abilities moving forward.
In fact, I expect Yaz to approach — and possibly even surpass — the .280 average mark in his sophomore season. His high average and on-base percentage (.334 in 2019) also project him as the best candidate to be the regular leadoff man to begin the season.
His skills as a hitter should also allow him to improve as a run-scorer while his 20+ home run power will make him one of the more dangerous leadoff hitters in baseball.
Yastrzemski is also the only player on the roster with the skills to play as an everyday center fielder. This means that he should be given consistent playing time and at-bats, even in the event of a prolonged slump.
As much upside as Yastrzemski brings, he would likely be a middle-tier player in most MLB lineups. However, the fact that he plays on the Giants means that he has a legitimate path to claim both the franchise’s All-Star berth and the team’s unofficial mantra of MVP.
He is the most intriguing young player on the roster as he has name recognition, he has the genetic of a former baseball superstar, and he plays an important defensive position.
He, above all other players on the Giants roster, should be primed for a great season in San Francisco.