In case you missed it, Andover’s Mike Yastrzemski is playing possibly the best baseball of his life on the big league stage, after more than a month as the San Francisco Giants’ most dangerous hitter.
Young Yaz has become one of major league baseball’s most fascinating stories this summer, and the outfielder’s absolutely scintillating July has turned into a red-hot start to August.
Fans and big leaguers alike have fallen in love with the Andoverite’s surprise emergence as an impact big leaguer.
“He’s a good player, man,” San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, told the NBC Sports Bay Area when asked about Yastrzemski. “He’s been playing good for us for a while.”
Yastrzemski’s numbers certainly back up Bumgarner’s assessment.
Heading into the week, Yastrzemski was leading all Giants hitters (minimum 150 at-bats) with a .272 batting average. Next best is former Red Sox free agent bust Pablo Sandoval (.267 average).
Yaz has been even hotter as the summer weather warmed up.
In the Giants’ last 20 games entering Monday, he was hitting .329 (26 for 79) with five homers, 17 RBIs, six doubles and 16 runs scored. He was a team-best 11 for 36 (.306 average) with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs over the Giants’ previous 10 games entering the week.
Rumors swirled around Twitter that Yastrzemski was on the verge of being sent down to the minors early last month due to a roster crunch.
Did Yaz worry? No, he simply started tearing it up in the plate.
Yastrzemski hit a stellar .316 (35 for 79) with four homers in 23 games in July. Not a bad way to keep your spot in the lineup.
“You’re trying to turn the page and keep working forward,” Yastrzemski said to NBC Sports Bay Area about almost being demoted. “It’s everyone contributing right now. It doesn’t matter where you get put in the lineup. If you’re in there, it feels like you’re going to do something.”
But Yastrzemski is really doing something at the plate.
CBSSports.com, this week, ranked Yaz as one of the top 10 “sleepers” fantasy baseball players should consider signing.
“Though a 28-year-old rookie, Mike Yastrzemski has emerged as the best hitter for a contending team,” Scott White wrote in the story.
Yahoo Sports agrees he could be a fantasy baseball steal.
Sports fans love an underdog story, and they love a legacy story, and Yastrzemski checks both boxes in a big way.
The grandson of Hall of Fame Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski, Mike spent six full seasons in the minors before he made the bigs, never earning a shot with the cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles, who jettisoned him to the Giants.
Now, young Yaz is regularly earning a spot on the ESPN Top-10.
On July 21, he hit a walkoff home run to give the Giants a win over the New York Mets. He and his grandfather are now the third grandfather-grandson duo to each hit a big league walkoff homer. A week later, he had four hits in a victory over the Padres.
On Friday, he blasted a 472-foot home run. That was the second longest homer for a Giant in the last six seasons.
Yaz entered the week with 22 homers in 99 games between the Giants (10 homers) and triple-A Sacramento (12). His previous career-high was 15 in 2016 between double-A and triple-A.
He is also playing stellar defense, and Giants fans are, as expected, falling in love.
Barring a disastrous turn, Yastrzemski will be traveling to Fenway Park with his Giants for a series against the Red Sox on Sept. 17-19. He’ll then have the chance to play in the same left field his grandpa patrolled for the Sox for 23 years.
What a story it would be if he kept his current hot streak rolling into Fenway.
“I’m just trying to stay aggressive,” Yastrzemski told NBC Sports Bay Area. “To be able to come through (for the team) gives you all the confidence in the world.”
Contact David Willis at @DWillisET or DWillis@eagletribune.com.