The San Francisco Giants haven’t been known for their hitting power in recent years. However, with last season’s hitting leader gone someone will have to step up.
The San Francisco Giants had a major shake-up this past offseason. They lost one of their most iconic hitting pitchers in Madison Bumgarner, while also watching outfielder Kevin Pillar leave the West Coast to head back east.
Pillar, who was traded to the Bay Area from Toronto early in 2019, was the team’s leader in hits with 157. He also raked in 21 home runs and 87 RBIs. The West Hills, CA native did more than just lead his team in home runs.
You can find his name sitting at the top in doubles with 37, tied for the lead with three triples and also stole 14 bases. All these just add to his tremendous defense and verify his nickname as “Superman.”
But who’ll lead the Giants in hits in 2020? Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.
Not to add pressure on the kid, but he is the grandson of Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski. Carl also played in the outfield during his 23-year career. You might also remember this moment the two shared in Boston.
In his rookie season, Mike went up to bat 371 times. He connected on 101 balls for an average of .272. “Yaz” also homered 21 times bringing in 55 runs. Not his grandpa’s numbers, yet. but there were positive signs in the 29-year-old.
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He has the talent to lead the team in many major categories and has the potential to be one of the best hitters San Francisco has seen since the Barry Bonds era.
According to Baseball-Reference’s WAR calculations, Yastrzemski was the third-best Giants player behind Bumgarner and starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
Yaz has a calm demeanor about him. When he’s in the batter’s box, he has very little pre-swing movement. He has a standard stance, which allows him to see and hit the ball better. His leg kick is minimal when he swings and he generates a tone of power from his swinging rotation.
Here is a prime example of his at-bats, when he hit three home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks. You’ll notice before and after each hit, his expression never changes. This makes it tough on opposing pitchers and catchers who might rely on reading the batter’s body language.
Looking at simulation for the 2020 season on Baseball-Reference, Yastrzemski is hitting .259 with a home run and seven hits in six games.
If you paid much attention to the Giants last season, you’ll know first baseman Brandon Belt had himself a fine, albeit slightly disappointing 2019.
Belt, who is another solid pick to lead the Giants in hits this year, had 123 connections which were the most he’s had since the team last made the playoffs in 2016. In his nine-year career, Belt has had seven seasons of 10 or more home runs, including last year with 17.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford and catcher Buster Posey should also be on your radar for contending with Belt and Yastrzemski. If all four can rise to their potentials, this team might have a chance at the Wild Card.
Yastrzemski has been a fantastic addition to the San Francisco Giants. If the 2020 season does get underway, and according to Jeff Passan of ESPN there are talks of it, look for Yastrzemski to take advantage of the new year.