MIKE Andrew YASTRZEMSKI
Image of MIKE
Nickname:   MIKE Position:   OF
Home: N/A Team:   GIANTS
Height: 5' 11" Bats:   L
Weight: 180 Throws:   L
DOB: 8/23/1990 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 5  
Birth City: Andover, MA
Draft: Orioles #14 - 2013 - Out of Vanderbilt Univ. (TN)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2013 NYP ABERDEEN   57 205 28 56 13 4 3 25 8 8 24 44 .362 .420 .273
2014 EL BOWIE   43 184 23 46 13 4 3 12 1 2 14 34 .310 .413 .250
2014 CAR FREDERICK   23 93 21 29 7 2 1 19 5 0 8 16 .364 .462 .312
2014 SAL DELMARVA   63 258 52 79 14 10 10 44 12 4 19 64 .365 .554 .306
2015 EL BOWIE   128 476 63 117 30 6 6 59 8 7 43 100 .316 .372 .246
2016 IL NORFOLK   94 339 41 75 21 4 7 32 10 3 42 98 .312 .369 .221
2016 EL BOWIE   33 127 27 34 5 0 6 27 4 0 19 20 .361 .449 .268
2017 EL BOWIE   20 83 20 32 6 1 6 19 1 1 9 17 .436 .699 .386
2017 IL NORFOLK   81 271 41 65 15 3 9 41 2 1 31 74 .322 .417 .240
2018 IL NORFOLK   94 324 48 86 18 6 9 49 6 4 44 75 .359 .441 .265
2018 EL BOWIE   27 104 13 21 10 0 1 11 2 1 10 30 .276 .327 .202
2019 IL SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE   1 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .500 .250
2019 PCL SACRAMENTO   40 136 38 43 11 1 12 25 2 2 22 36 .414 .676 .316
2019 NL GIANTS   107 371 64 101 22 3 21 55 2 4 32 107 .334 .518 .272
2020 NL GIANTS $211.00 54 192 38 57 14 4 10 35 2 1 30 55 .400 .568 .297
2021 NL GIANTS   139 468 75 105 28 3 25 71 4 0 51 131 .311 .457 .224
Personal
  • Mike is the grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski. Mike's father, Mike Yastrzemski, died at age 44 in 2004 from a heart attack after hip surgery. His dad had been a third-round draft pick by the Braves in 1984 and played for the White Sox at the Triple-A level.

  • After Mike reached the Majors, he was asked during the 2019 season if he ever felt pressure in filling Yaz's shoes?

    "My family was always great about letting me do whatever made me happy," the young Yastrzemski said. "If I wanted to be an artist, I could have done that. If I wanted to be a teacher, I could have done that and they would have been happy. To be able to create my own path is awesome."

  • In 2009, Mike was drafted by the Red Sox in the 36th round, out of St. John's Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. But he did not sign, preferring a baseball scholarship to Vanderbilt.

  • In 2012, Yastrzemski was again drafted, this time after his junior year at Vandy, in the 30th round by the Mariners, mainly because teams thought it would cost too much to buy him out of his senior year. But as he worked out in Massachusetts to improve his strength and conditioning, the Mariners made a run.

    Scouting director Tom McNamara met with Mike and his grandfather Carl in Boston, and the Mariners were willing to go to $300,000 plus the cost of the final year at Vanderbilt to sign Yastrzemski. While his grandfather wanted him to get his degree, he told Mike to sign if that was what he wanted. Mike talked it out with his mother, Anne Marie, and planned to sign. But his adviser Jack Toffey asked Mike, “Are you sure this is what you want?”

    Mike hesitated, and ultimately decided to return to Vanderbilt. He did what he believed was right. His father (also named Mike), who died when Mike was a teenager, was one course shy of a degree from Florida State, and Carl signed with the Red Sox after his freshman year at Notre Dame. Education has always been held as significant for ensuing generations of Yastrzemskis.

  • In 2013, Mike was the 14th round pick by the Orioles (see Transactions below). 

  • Mike never hit better than .296 before breaking out in Southeastern Conference play as a senior. He went 39 for 97 (.402) to lead the league in 26 conference games in 2013. He was to the All-SEC and All-Defensive teams.

  • Yastrzemski plays with impressive intensity.

  • Mike's favorites include Jacoby Ellsbury (athlete), Boondock Saints (movie), Family Guy (TV show), Will Ferrell (actor), Steak (food) and Dave Matthews Band (musician).

  • Yastrzemski is a very savvy player. So, though he lacks a plus tool, his game plays up because of his high baseball IQ.

  • A familiar process plays out each time you see the descendant of a baseball legend in an obscure minor league ballpark. It's something both observers and the player himself have to deal with—the realization that he is not his namesake, the understanding that such a standard is unfair and, finally, an appreciation for all the things the new generation does well.

    Orioles minor league outfielder Mike Yastrzemski has dealt with it all, and now he is earning notice for more than just his name.

    While living with those expectations, Yastrzemski has learned to treat what he knows is a humbling game with a confidence born of his own hard work. With every new challenge he faces, he tells himself he belongs before proving it to everyone else.

    "You don't want to put anything by that kid," said Tim Corbin, Yastrzemski's coach in college at Vanderbilt. "I think he'll play in the big leagues. He's just that kid. He won't be denied. He can't be denied. He'll find any way to get there."

  • In 2009, Yastrzemski ended up at Vanderbilt after passing up a chance to sign with the Red Sox, who had picked him in the 36th round of the 2009 draft. At the time, Baseball America called him "the most polished prep hitter in New England." The weekly batting cage sessions with his grandfather likely helped, but Vanderbilt coach Tom Corbin was sure he'd go to college instead of beginning his professional career.

    "He had too many influences that had savvy and experiences of professional baseball and knew the progression was for him to come to college to grow mentally and grow physically," Corbin said.

    Those influences were the extended family members who nurtured Yastrzemski on and off the field.

    His father, Carl Jr., who went by Mike, was a minor league baseball player himself. He was divorced from Yastrzemski's mother and died of a heart attack when his son was in middle school.

    Family was more to Yastrzemski than his parents or grandfather, though. His aunts, uncles and cousins remain incredibly supportive, he said, and are the "number one reason I'm able to be where I am."

    "It's so rare, and it's so hard to replicate, and it's so hard to thank," he said.

    Yastrzemski was drawn to Vanderbilt because of the team's tough-guy attitude, and he forced himself to learn that early.

    "Just because there are guys that are going to be first-rounders and second-rounders that you're going to be facing doesn't mean that you can't hang with them," Yastrzemski said. "You're going to have to tell yourself you're good enough.

    In his freshman year, Yastrzemski earned a starting spot in Vanderbilt's outfield. He started every game in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, posting a career batting line of .292/.393/.416 with 67 extra-base hits and 62 stolen bases.

    Yastrzemski's grandfather would enlist the Fenway Park grounds crew to toss batting practice and help him work out of funks.

  • In 2012, Mike passed up the opportunity to sign with the Mariners after they drafted him in the 30th round following his junior season, instead following through on a promise to his father to get his degree. Vanderbilt provided that, and helped him build defense against the pressure of his lineage.

    "I've learned to understand what it's like to have a famous relative," Yastrzemski said. "The expectations that people put on you; I don't feel pressure from them anymore. When I was younger, I did because I didn't understand the game as well, and how hard it really is to succeed at this game."

    Yastrzemski was one of the oldest draft-eligible prospects last year, and his polish has carried him through the system quickly. He helped Class A Aberdeen to its first New York-Penn League division title last summer, earning a South Atlantic League All-Star spot in June, and earlier this month hit for Frederick's first cycle in nine years.

    Like his grandfather and father, Yastrzemski—at 5 feet 11, 180 pounds—doesn't cut an imposing figure. But he carries the one he was blessed with the same way they did, with poise and purpose. Scouts praise him for the way he does little things such as run the bases, track balls in the outfield and not give away at-bats.

    His tools don't stand out—he's a polished hitter with gap power, around average speed with good instincts on the bases, an above-average arm and strong outfield defense. But a background and makeup like the one Frederick manager Luis Pujols saw in his brief time with Yastrzemski can only amplify his tools.

    "He'd go out in the outfield [during batting practice] and shag, go after fly balls like a game situation," Pujols said. "He's very active. Baseball is in his blood, and he knows how to go about his business. I've got to tip my hat to him for that. You don't see guys his age doing everything by the book when it comes to baseball."  (Jon Meoli, The Baltimore Sun - July 20, 2014)

  • Mike has it all covered, really. "What you see with him is a very complete baseball player,” Orioles farm director Brian Graham said in 2014. “You see a guy with great preparation and a great work ethic. He’s very focused and very serious about being as good as his ability will allow him to be.

    "This guy is a solid-average runner, has solid-average arm strength and is a solid-average outfielder in all three spots. He’s shown the ability to put really good at-bats together to get on base.

    “He’s shown power, extra-base power. So his performance, obviously, has been outstanding. And he has solid-average tools.”

  • Yastrzemski is the baseball equivalent of a gym rat. He plays hard and never takes a pitch off.

  • In 2015, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Yastrzemski as the 9th-best prospect in the Orioles' organization. They dropped him to #25 in the winter before 2016 Spring Training.

  • October 2015: Mike didn't ask for adversity, but he's absolutely willing to learn from it. Yastrzemski played through his second tour in the Double-A Eastern League and finished with a career-worst batting average (.246).

    The younger Yastrzemski got in some extra work with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. And when the 25-year-old evaluates his season, he admits that it wasn't necessarily a bad thing for him to run into a roadblock.

    "It was probably good for me to realize this isn't the easiest game in the world," he said. "You've got to learn to make adjustments and learn to make them on the go in the game as quick as possible. I felt I made a lot of progress, especially toward the end of the year. I was just trying to stay consistent and to be productive and that was definitely a big focus point at the end."

    "He's got some competition," said hitting coach Sean Berry. "I always say, 'If you give us a choice, it's going to be a hard choice.' He needs to find a way to separate himself from those guys, whether it's more power, more average, more runs scored or more on-base percentage. The trap that most of the young kids fall into is they try to be something that they're not. He's at that point in his career now where he's trying to figure out what kind of player he's going to be for the rest of his career. That's an important step for him." (S Fordin - MLB.com - Oct 2015)

  • MLB debut (May 25, 2019): Yastrzemski was put in the starting lineup against the Diamondbacks.

  • Why isn’t Mike Yastrzemski wearing No. 8?

    That was his grandfather’s number, and it seemed to work OK for the great Carl Yastrzemski, who collected 3,419 hits over a 23-year career with Boston. Actually, the Giants offered it, among other numbers. (It was Hunter Pence’s number. And Gerardo Parra’s.) Mike Yastrzemski preferred 5.

    “I had the opportunity,” he said, “but I figured because of my name, there’s going to be some spotlight. I don’t need to draw more attention to myself. I want to blend in and be part of the team. I felt I was playing well with 5 at Sacramento, so I’d just stick with it. (John Shea -June 21, 2019-San Francisco Chronicle)

    FENWAY

  • September 17, 2019: Mike stepped up to the plate at Fenway Park where his grandfather had belted 237 homers. Amid the loud ovations in the stands, a fan repeatedly yelled out to the Giants’ leadoff batter, “Hit a home run! Hit a home run!”

    Three innings later, Mike did just that. The 29-year-old rookie’s 20th home run of the season sailed 401 feet over the center-field wall off Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi. The crowd reacted not as if the home run had been hit by the opponent, but rather by family. Red Sox family.

    “That was kind of one of those things where I just had to take a second and understand what was going on and appreciate that moment and not take it for granted,” Mike said after the Giants’ 7-6, 15-inning win over the Red Sox. “I made sure to kind of keep my head up and look around and soak it all in because you don’t really get an ovation at an away or opposing park for your home run.”

    Before the game, the grandfather and grandson reunited on the field, an image that transcends generations. 

    Fenway Park was home for Carl, who played his entire career for the Red Sox, and a homecoming for Mike, who grew up in the Boston area. At that time, neither knew Mike would be making his mark in the stadium 36 years, one month and 17 days after Carl hit his last home run there on July 31, 1983.

    “I think the only way that I can compare it to anything would be if I compared it to the '67 season,” Carl said of Mike playing at Fenway before the game. “That’s what it means to me and being here. It’ll be the first time that ‘Yastrzemski’ will be announced on the field since 1983.”

    Their last name resonated over the loudspeaker from 1961-1983. During that time, Carl captured the AL Most Valuable Player and Triple Crown for that unforgettable 1967 season, seven Gold Gloves, and 18 All-Star selections.

    “When I turned 23, kind of the big shocking moment was that for my entire life, he had showed up to Fenway Park every day,” said Mike, who went 2-for-7 with a double, a home run, three strikeouts and a walk on the night. “That kind of blew my mind, where I was like, ‘I can’t picture 23 years' worth of Major League Baseball experience.’ That’s when that really set in. But I was probably in high school when I started to see the magnitude of his effect on the city.”

    Today the name was heard once again when Mike got the start in left field—where Carl played, too. “It had to be a great night for a lot of Red Sox fans to see a Yastrzemski out there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I’m sure it reminded them of some of the great memories they have. It was pretty cool.” 

    Batting leadoff and starting at Fenway Park was not given to Mike because of his family. He’s had to work to get to this point on his own. The 29-year-old logged 703 Minor League games before making his Major League debut on May 25. Mike, Carl said, “never complained.”

    “I think the whole thing is when you first come to the big leagues, it’s very difficult,” Carl said. “I knew it was for me because always in the back of my mind was the thought that, ‘Do I belong here?’ I think that goes on for a few months until you kind of get settled and say, ‘Yes I do belong here.’ He’s adjusted pretty well to it.” 

    Mike has had his grandfather to turn to during this long journey. Carl watches Mike’s games on the West Coast, even if it means staying up far past midnight.  “He’s helped me a lot through the way in helping me understand what I need to do and what I don’t need to do to be successful and how I can kind of maintain that,” Mike said.

    Mike wasn’t the only member of the visiting team that Carl spent time with. Carl visited the clubhouse before the game and dropped into Bochy’s office.  “A Hall of Famer that I grew up trying to impersonate as a hitter, as a kid, and there he was in my office,” Bochy said. “That’s a cool moment. To get a chance to meet him, I’m like anybody that grew up idolizing these guys. The beautiful thing about this game is, it does allow you to have moments like this.” 

    This moment wasn’t just for Mike—it was for all of his friends and family who came to Fenway Park to see him play there for the first time. There were so many supporters on hand, he lost count. The self-described diehard Red Sox fan said his first game at Fenway Park had been circled on his calendar “for life.”

    “I got to walk in here by myself when I got to the field,” he said. “There was a lot of memories of being in the stands. Being in the stands for the World Series, being in the stands for the 1999 Home Run Derby, the All-Star Game, being with family at games. Those things overwhelm you more than actually playing here. The playing here is cool and I see it as part of my job, something I’ve always wanted to do. So that doesn’t really overwhelm me. But being able to do it in a setting where I have so many fond memories with friends, family, and then having them be able to be here is special.”  (Camerato- mlb.com)

  • September 17, 2019: Carl Yastrzemski threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his grandson, Mike, in front of a captivated crowd at Fenway Park.

    Carl emerged from the Red Sox’s dugout to an eruption of cheers; Mike made his way to the field from the visiting dugout. They embraced between the pitcher’s mound and home plate. 

    “Special,” Mike said. “It was something that you say you want to be able to play catch with your dad and your grandfather in the backyard usually. To be able to get one in at Fenway Park was really cool.” 

    With eyes around the ballpark eagerly locked in on this moment, Carl tossed a pitch perfectly into his grandson’s glove. The interaction gave Mike, 29, a flashback.

    “Honestly, I was thinking about the last time we had played catch,” Mike said. “I remembered a time probably during Thanksgiving when I must have been 7 or 8 at his house. Being able to relive that and to go through that again on this type of scale and to have such a warm welcome from everyone was really awesome.” (Camerato - mlb.com)

  • 2019 Season: Yastrzemski spent seven seasons toiling in the Minors before finally receiving his first big league callup from the Giants in May 2019. He has become an integral part of the Giants’ outfield since then, solidifying an everyday role with his consistent production and steady defense.

    After Yastrzemski never hit more than 15 homers in a single Minor League season with the Orioles, his power with San Francisco has been a revelation. He crushed his 20th home run of the season at Fenway Park, the most by a Giants rookie since Dave Kingman in 1972. Yastrzemski has attributed the power surge to some adjustments he made over the offseason with the help of his former Vanderbilt teammate Tony Kemp.

  • When the Giants acquired Mike from the Orioles in March 2019, the 29-year-old rookie embraced the new opportunity. After a long journey to the Major Leagues, he is making his mark in San Francisco. Yastrzemski has one of the most recognized names in baseball, and there’s so much more to find out about the outfielder, from his sports icons to Minor League memories to favorite ice cream flavors.

    If you had to give yourself a superlative growing up, what would it have been?

    Is there such thing as “Most Serious?” I was probably the guy that took everything a little too seriously. If there was a competition, it was do or die. I didn’t make friends in that sense. Whether there was a debate class, it was dead serious.  If it was dodge ball in gym class, I was the last one in there. If it was floor hockey, it was full contact. It was just very intense.

    You played over 700 Minor League games. What was your wildest experience?

    One of our buses catching on fire with the Aberdeen Ironbirds. We were driving to Vermont, I believe, and we were just about to pull off the exit. All of a sudden, guys in the back said, “My seat’s starting to get really hot.” We heard rumblings in the back, and all of a sudden we turned around and we see smoke coming from the bus. Everybody’s like, “Fire! Fire! Bus on fire!” So it pulls over, and everyone sprints off the bus and runs away. The fire department came, and it was one exit short, so we had to have a new bus come and bring us another exit.

    Outside of baseball, which sports players did you look up to?

    Big Patriots guy, so Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi I was a big fan of. On the hockey side of things, I was always a Ray Borque fan. So him, Joe Thornton, when he was with the Bruins. It’s funny now that I’m out in San Francisco, [Thornton]’s with the Sharks, so that’s cool to have some connection there. I really looked up to those guys and loved watching them do their thing. Antoine Walker was my favorite basketball player with his little shimmy. Paul Pierce, obviously, can’t go wrong.

    Rank your top three favorite ice cream flavors in order.

    No. 1: Half Baked by Ben & Jerry’s. I had it when I was in high school and forever whenever I saw it, I had to get it. Second would be their Americone Dream, which is unbelievable. Then third would be just your standard mint chocolate chip. In Nashville, my go-to is Jeni’s.

    What is the first concert you went to?

    I think my first concert was N-SYNC. It was that time, I was 10 years old [in 2000] and they were huge. My mom brought me and a couple of my cousins for my birthday. I think it was the No Strings Attached Tour. [My favorite] was JT [Justin Timberlake], obviously. Now that he lives in Nashville, too, hopefully he’s paying attention to this.

    Speaking of hitting home runs, what are some goals you have set for yourself?

    I don’t put it into numbers. I have long-term goals that I set. Essentially, it was just to get here. Now that I’ve done that, I haven’t completely re-evaluated, but I’ve tried to grasp where I want to go from here. [I want] to wear this Giants uniform until they literally rip it off me.

    Which pronunciation of your last name did you get the most?

    “Yah-struh-zem-ski.” I’ll let them say it however they want to.  (Camerato - mlb.com - 9/26/2019)

  • What does Mike like to do with his free time?

    "I like golfing. If I lived near the beach, I'd surf every day, Yastrzemski said. "Same thing with fishing. I'm more of an ocean fisherman that freshwater. Golf, fish, surf—that's about it."

    How about your favorite fishing holes, golf courses and surf spots?

    "For golf courses, I love playing Hillwood (Country Club) in Nashville. Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand is definitely my favorite place I've ever played. I keep fishing holes and surf spots—I can't have those get to crowded," Mike said. (Giants Magazine - September, 2019)

  • 2019 Season: The transaction seemed rather nondescript at the time, but it ended up yielding one of the Giants’ best acquisitions of the season. On March 23, the Giants sent Minor League righthander Tyler Herb to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who had spent his entire professional career toiling in Baltimore’s farm system. Yastrzemski reported to Minor League camp and opened the season at Triple-A Sacramento before making his long-awaited Big League debut with the Giants on May 25 at the age of 28. He never went back to the Minors, emerging as a revelation after batting .272 with an .852 OPS and 21 home runs, tied with Kevin Pillar for the team lead.

    “Obviously, what Yastrzemski has done this year has been really fun to watch,” Pillar said. “It’s really cool to see a guy that’s willing to stay in the Minor Leagues that long, continue to grind and then ultimately get his opportunity at age 28 and go out there and have the type of season he’s [had]. There’s really never been a moment for me being around him that he wasn’t prepared to be in the big leagues. From day one, he showed up, and he acted like he belonged.”

    What went right in 2019?

    Yastrzemski’s power came as a bit of a surprise, as he had never hit more than 15 home runs in any Minor League season with the Orioles. After his three-homer game against the D-backs on August 16, Yastrzemski said that he'd worked with former Vanderbilt teammate and current Cub Tony Kemp last offseason to make some adjustments to his swing that allowed him to drive the ball better in 2019. He became the first Giants rookie outfielder with 20 or more homers in a season since Dave Kingman in 1972. Yastrzemski also showed the ability to play all three outfield positions well and eventually settled into the leadoff spot with his steady production at the plate.

    What went wrong in 2019?

    Yastrzemski was susceptible to occasional lapses on the base-paths. After collecting his first career hit on a bloop single to left field, Yastrzemski wandered too far off first base and was immediately picked off. He finished only 2-for-6 in stolen-base attempts. (Maria Guardado - MLB.com. - November 5, 2019)

  • As Mike settles into his first full Spring Training with the Giants in 2020, Yastrzemski can’t help but reflect on how far he’s come over the last year. He thinks about it often.  “Just about every day,” he said. “Just thinking about how crazy one moment can be that changes your life and your career. Just being able to be here and be happy, and appreciated every step of the way.” 

    Exactly one year ago, Yastrzemski was among the Orioles’ first round of cuts from big league camp. He won’t have to worry about prematurely cleaning out his locker in 2020, as he is expected to be an integral part of the Giants’ outfield after delivering a breakout campaign as a 28-year-old rookie in 2019.

    He appreciates how transparent the Giants have been with him about his role this season, a luxury he never enjoyed with the Orioles.  “I felt like I was stuck there,” Yastrzemski said. “No matter whether I did good or bad, I was going to start in the same place and end in the same place. It seemed like there was no plan for me there.”

    Yastrzemski spent his first six professional seasons grinding in the Orioles' Minor League system, never climbing higher than Triple-A Norfolk. He spent last offseason training with former college teammate Tony Kemp, who Yastrzemski has credited with helping him make some adjustments to his swing that allowed him to crush a career-high 33 home runs between the Minors and the Majors in 2019.

    Realizing there was no path forward for him with the O's, Yastrzemski began researching teams in need of outfield help, and he quickly identified the Giants as an ideal landing spot. A few weeks later, he got his wish.  As Yastrzemski was preparing to serve as a reserve outfielder for a Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., he received a call from Elias, who informed him that he’d been traded to the Giants in exchange for Minor League right-hander Tyler Herb.

    It was a career-altering moment for Yastrzemski, who felt he needed a change of scenery to have a real shot at reaching the Majors.

    “A couple days before, I had been playing GM by myself, looking where I would have a chance to go play somewhere,” Yastrzemski said. “This was the first place that I wanted to come. It seemed like they needed some outfield help, and they were indecisive in who was going to take that job. There wasn’t really a definitive answer. I thought it would be a good place for me to go and let everything loose, just be relaxed and play my game. I got lucky enough to come here and just tried to make an impact.”

    After enjoying a hot start to the season at Triple-A Sacramento, Yastrzemski finally received his long-awaited call to the big leagues in May 2019.  He never left, slashing .272/.334/.518 over 107 games with the Giants. Yastrzemski finished the season with 21 home runs, tied with Kevin Pillar for the team lead. And he delivered one of the signature moments of the 2019 season, when he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, and homered at Fenway Park in September 2019. 

    Righthander Kevin Gausman, who played with Yastrzemski in the Orioles' system, said he tuned in for that series in Boston. And he was thrilled to see his former teammate find success in the Majors after being overlooked by the O's. Gausman said he’s long respected Yastrzemski’s “baseball IQ” and tenacity at the plate, and he was excited to reunite with him after signing a one-year, $9 million deal with the Giants this offseason.

    “I was always kind of like, ‘Why won’t they call this guy up?’” Gausman said. “I was happy to see him go somewhere else, honestly. I kind of knew that if a team is willing to get you, they obviously want you. For whatever reason, [the Orioles] maybe just didn’t like him. Unfortunately, that happens to a lot of guys. It takes going somewhere else to really get an opportunity. I’m happy now that he’s my teammate here and obviously going to be a staple in our lineup. I’m excited to get to watch him play.”  (Guardado - mlb.com - 3/3/2020)

  • August 23, 2020: On his 30th birthday, Mike continued to take flight for the Giants. For the second consecutive game, Yastrzemski drove in the go-ahead run for San Francisco, homering in the sixth inning to help the Giants complete a three-game sweep of the D-backs with a 6-1 win at Oracle Park.

    With the game tied, 1-1, Yastrzemski golfed a 3-2 changeup from Arizona right-hander Luke Weaver out to the Giants’ bullpen in left-center field for his seventh home run of the season. He became the first Giants player to homer on his birthday since Gorkys Hernandez on Sept. 7, 2016, at Colorado.

    “You can’t write that stuff,” Yastrzemski said. “It’s just been really fun to have these opportunities and try to make the most of them. The most important thing is it’s been fun and we’ve been winning games.”

    The moment capped a festive weekend for the Yastrzemski family, which also celebrated Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski’s 81st birthday on August 22. The younger Yastrzemski gifted his grandfather what manager Gabe Kapler called the club’s “best catch of the year,” as he made a sensational leaping grab at the right-field wall to rob Ketel Marte of extra bases and help left-hander Tyler Anderson log his first career complete game. 

    Yastrzemski’s performance against the D-backs encapsulates the all-around play that has made the late-bloomer into a star for the Giants in 2020. A little over a year since making his Major League debut as a 28-year-old rookie, Yastrzemski has turned himself into a bona fide NL MVP candidate, batting .309 with a 1.074 OPS, seven homers, 23 RBIs and 23 walks over 30 games.

    “I think he’s become more and more patient and assertive on pitches that he can drive in or out of the zone,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think what’s standing out to me is the patience and the confidence.”  (Guardado - mlb.com)

  • Sept. 26, 2020: Yastrzemski was the winner of the “Willie Mac" Award, emblematic of the team’s most inspirational and competitive player. Two legacies became one in "Yas" winning the Award.

    Yastrzemski sustained a calf injury on Sept. 17 against Seattle that forced him to miss seven starts and interrupted his first full season in the Major Leagues. With a team-high 35 RBIs and an established reputation as a deft defender, he has demonstrated the diverse skill that his grandfather displayed during 23 seasons with the Red Sox.

    Mike also topped the league with four triples, matching Washington’s Trea Turner, and was tied for eighth with 14 doubles.

    The elder Yastrzemski prompted the same adoration in Boston that Willie McCovey, for whom the award is named, did in the Bay Area during a Giants career that spanned four calendar decades. McCovey, who died two years ago at age 80, remains revered for his Hall of Fame-level slugging and his friendly demeanor. (C haft - MLB.com - Sept 26, 2020)

  •  2020 Season: Yaz proved all the doubters wrong in 2020, hitting .297/.400/.568 with 10 home runs and 54 RBI in 54 games. His offensive production was largely the reason why the Giants were even in the playoff hunt at the end of the season.

     Yaz’s incredible story has been one of the more remarkable ones in baseball these last two years. But in 2021, he could have a true breakout season because it will be his first 162 game season in the MLB.

    If he can produce over the course of a 162-games season as we have seen in parts of the last two seasons, then there is a very real possibility that he could become one of the superstars of the game and may even become the co-face of the franchise along with Buster Posey. (Nick San Miguel - Jan. 23, 2021)

  •  2021 Season: Yastrzemski entered this season with major expectations. He finished 8th in NL MVP voting in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, putting up a .297/.400/.568 slash in 54 games with 10 HR, good for a 159 wRC+ and 2.6 bWAR. That WAR ranked 10th in baseball among position players, so you can get a sense of just how spectacular Yastrzemski was.

    In 2021, however, Yastrzemski fell back to Earth with a bit of a thump. He slashed .224/.311/.457 in 139 games with 25 HR, coming out to a 106 wRC+ and 2.5 bWAR. The defense remained positive (+0.3 dWAR), and he was rewarded with a Gold Glove nomination, but the bat was just about average, though he was second on the Giants for home runs.

    So, what happened? In his spectacular 2020 season, Yastrzemski had basically no difference when he faced RHP or LHP pitchers, posting a 156 wRC+ and 165 wRC+ respectively. Essentially, he was massively above average no matter who he was facing. That illusion was shattered in 2021, with him posting a 46 wRC+ against LHP and 126 wRC+ against righties. But he was basically unplayable when the Giants faced LHP.

    Against LHPs in 2021, Yastrzemski posted a .170/.254/.259 line. This is bizarre, because in 2020 Yastrzemski posted a .284/.385/.612 slash against lefties for that 165 wRC+, and even in 2019 slashed .329/.382/.561 for a 145 wRC+. He used to not only be good against left-handers, but elite: his 154 wRC+ against LHP across 2019-2020 is the basically the equivalent of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s 2021 season (156 wRC+). So how do you go from Tatis Jr. to Cody Bellinger (48 wRC+ in 2021)?

    It’s actually not entirely clear what changed. But maybe the pitch charts have part of the story: looking at Yaz’s zone chart, he really struggled on pitches down and away (wOBA means weighted on-base average, so the higher, the better: it scales with OBP, so the evaluation is the same), a trend that didn’t necessarily hold true when looking at 2019-2020.  (Yasi Khan@yasmeena_khan - Jan 17, 2022)

  •  Aug. 6, 2022: The field at the Oakland Coliseum had all but cleared. The Giants had beaten the A’s in the penultimate Bay Bridge series game. But two players from opposite dugouts stayed.

    Mike Yastrzemski and Tony Kemp, still in full uniform, met at the first base line holding their baby girls, dressed in onesies to match their dads. They held them up in the air and posed for a photograph. They’ll hope to recreate this photo for years to come. Life always seems to bring these two longtime friends together, from the dorms at Vanderbilt to the minor league grind to Bay Area baseball to parenthood. So this new tradition felt natural.

    “We’ve known each other for 10 years now and we live down the street from each other,” said Yastrzemski, who turns 32 soon. “We’re super close. Being able to play against someone like that in the big leagues is so rare. To be able to share that experience and share the field with our families that are growing is so cool. We had to take advantage of it.”

    "It’s a lifelong relationship and friendship,” the 30-year-old Kemp said. “It’s gotten stronger over the years.”

     Yastrzemski and his wife, Paige, had daughter Quinle on Dec. 3, 2021. Just three weeks later, Dec. 27, Kemp and his wife, Michelle, became parents to daughter McKenna.

    Both families spend the offseason in Nashville, where they each live just blocks away from each other and spend nearly every day together training by day and sitting by a bonfire or playing Settlers of Catan by night. One night last year, Mike and a newly pregnant Paige went to the Kemp house for dinner with a tricky plan to reveal the pregnancy news.

    “My wife didn’t want me to do it,” Yastrzemski said.

    When Kemp offered Paige an alcoholic drink, Mike laid into his old friend — as planned.

     “Bro, that’s messed up,” Yastrzemski said to Kemp.

    “What’s messed up?”

    “Why are you trying to give a drink to a pregnant lady?”

    Both couples erupted, but the trick had a twist.

    “We’re pregnant, too!” The Kemps said back as Michelle pulled out an ultrasound photo from her pocket. (Shayna Rubin - srubin@bayareanewsgroup.com)

  • Kemp and Yastrzemski always seem to be walking parallel paths.

    They became nearly inseparable as roommates at Vanderbilt University, where the two played for the Commodores. But their bond began when Kemp visited Vandy for a recruiting trip. He “talked a big game,” Yastrzemski said, with a kind of outward confidence that drew in his new friend.

    “I remember in an article he said he de-committed from where his brother went to college because he wanted to write the Tony Kemp story,” Yastrzemski said. “He referred to himself in the third person and we wore him out about that. He was just so energetic, and that was something I wasn’t used to yet. Then we became best friends. It’s a contagious attitude and he makes life a lot more fun.”

    Yastrzemski’s reserved state was a contrast from Kemp’s extroversion, but Kemp was drawn to his teammate’s warmth.

    “He can come off a little bit more straight edge, but that’s to the outside world,” Kemp said. “He’s a teddy bear. He cares about everyone.”

    Together, they bonded over competition. They’d go head-to-head in the batting cages for hours, each trying to hit a ball through holes in the surrounding nets.

    “If he got a hit, I wanted to get a hit. But we were all rooting for each other,” Kemp said.

    Back home, they’d battle on the Nintendo 64 playing Super Smash Bros., NFL Blitz and the NHL franchise.

    “We always leveled up on each other and always competed with each other,” Kemp said. To this day they remember who bested the other at their favorite games.

    “I was better at Blitz,” Kemp said. “He had me in NHL.”

    “I’m definitely better at NHL,” he said. “I don’t know if he’s the best at Blitz. That might be a stretch. He probably won a few more games.”

    On the field, both Kemp and Yastrzemski shined within a stacked Vanderbilt roster that in 2013 featured plenty of future big leaguers such as Dansby Swanson and Walker Beuhler. The inseparable roommates would be pulled to two different parts of the country in the MLB Draft: Yastrzemski to the Baltimore Orioles in the 14th round and, a year later, Kemp to the Houston Astros in the fifth round.

    Kemp’s path to MLB was a little more straightforward than Yastrzemski’s. He made his debut with the Astros in 2016 at age 24 and had a championship ring by 26. Yastrzemski battled injuries and toiled in the Orioles’ minor league system. But the two kept a close eye on each other, texting about their troubles and cheering for each other’s success from afar. They wondered if they’d ever cross paths again on the field.

    “I felt like the Orioles organization didn’t really value him quite as he should have been,” Kemp said. “It’s how baseball works sometimes.”

    Fate brought them together again in 2019, when the Giants traded pitcher Tyler Herb for Yastrzemski in a move that hardly shook ground. But Yastrzemski’s 1.090 OPS and 12 home runs in 40 games made a quick impression with the Sacramento River Cats.

    “I remember calling him like, you gotta be close,” Kemp said.

    Days after the Giants called a 28-year-old Yastrzemski, he hit his first MLB home run against the Orioles at Camden Yards on May 31. Kismet, Kemp thought.

    Almost a year later, the Oakland A’s traded for Kemp. The two best friends were back together again, a Bay Bridge separating them. The Bay Bridge series brought them back together again.

    “Last year during the Bay Bridge series we had a moment before the game in center field like, man, look around. We did it,” Kemp said. “We made the big leagues. Obviously, you don’t want to stop there.”  (Shayna Rubin - srubin@bayareanewsgroup.com)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2013: The Orioles chose Yastrzemski in the 14th round, out of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. He signed with scout Adrian Dorsey.

  • March 23, 2019: The Orioles traded Yastrzemski to the Giants for RHP Tyler Herb. (Editor's note: Herb never made the Majors.)

  • March 22, 2022; Mike and the Giants avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $3.7 million. 

  • Nov 18, 2022: Mike avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.1 million.
Batting
  • Yastrzemski can hit. He has a quick, line-drive stroke and can pepper the gaps. He hit to all fields with some power with solid pitch recognition. Yastrzemski credits a strong mental approach as a key to his success. He shows the ability to get to a good fastball. His power though grades a tick below-average. (Spring 2016)

  • His baseball IQ is impressively high, and he uses it in his mental approach at the plate. He works his way into good hitters' counts.

  • Mike gets the barrel through the zone real well. He has exceeded expectations.

  • 2014 Season: Mike batted a combined .288/.346/.490 with 34 doubles, 16 triples, 14 homers, 75 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 535 at-bats at three levels.

  • May 26, 2019: Getting your first career hit is an exciting moment, no matter how it goes down. But when something goofy happens and things don't go according to plan, it can look pretty amusing to everybody else.

    It was a big day for the Yastrzemski family. Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of baseball legend Carl Yastrzemski, picked up the first base hit of his career in the second inning of the Giants' game against the D-backs at Oracle Park.

    That's great, right? All smiles from his wife and family in the stands, right? Well . . . not really, as Yastrzemski rounded the bag a bit too far after his bloop fell in for a hit in shallow left field. Mike had his first base hit, but then . . . 

    Here's how it went down from his family's perspective. First, the base hit. Smiles and excitement abound!

    But then, as he ventured too far toward second base and wound up tagged out, his family recoiled, his wife having tried in vain to urge him to retreat to the first-base bag and avoid the tag. In what other sport can a moment as important as one of your first milestones end in such chaos?

    Yastrzemski's next time up, though, he picked up another hit and avoided any disasters at first base, so everybody's happy now. (A Garro - CUT4)

  • May 31, 2019: Mike always thought his first shot in the Majors would come with the Orioles, the club that drafted him. He instead found himself making his first trip to Camden Yards as a big leaguer with the Giants, who acquired the outfielder in Spring Training before calling him up.

    “I did a little looking around before the game, just kind of taking that in and letting that sink in,” Yastrzemski said. “Once that happened, I was ready to play baseball instead of standing there in awe.”

    Yastrzemski went on to show the Orioles what they missed, collecting his first career home run and triple in the Giants’ 9-6 loss in the series opener. “Deep down, I always wanted to come here and hit one,” Yastrzemski said. “Always. Now it’s a reality, and that’s pretty special.”

  • August 8, 2019: Mike homered and drove in three runs for the Giants. Yastrzemski delivered a two-run double to stake the Giants to a 3-0 lead in the third and added a 403-foot solo shot to right-center field in the seventh to cap the club’s scoring. It was Yastrzemski’s 11th homer of the season, matching his grandfather Carl, who also hit 11 during his rookie season with the Red Sox in 1961.


    “He was a rookie when he was 21,” Yastrzemski said. “I’m 28, so it’s a little different feat. I would more compare my 28-year numbers to his 28-year numbers, but I think his would be a little better.”  (Guardado - mlb.com)

  • August 16, 2019: Yastrzemski became the first Giants player to produce a three-homer game since Jarrett Parker on September 26, 2015 at Oakland. The 28-year-old outfielder has 16 home runs this year, the most by a Giants rookie since Buster Posey hit 18 in 2010. Yastrzemski never hit more than 15 in any of his six Minor League seasons.

    “I just made a few small adjustments this offseason to try to be a little more impactful with the bat,” Yastrzemski said. “I knew that was something that would help me. I’ve always been known as a defensive player and always tried to show that I had the ability to hit. To be able to have a little bit of success here so far has felt really good.”

    “When you’ve got a last name like that, you’re going to do something special every once in a while, right?” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He hit three home runs. It’s going to be a day he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”

    With his three-homer game, Yastrzemski matched his grandfather. Carl Yastrzemski’s only three-homer game was May 19, 1976 at Detroit. (M Guardado - MLB.com - August 17, 2019)

  • In 2019, Yastrzemski slashed .272/.334/.518 with 21 home runs, walked in 7.8 percent of his plate appearances, just below the league average of 8.5 percent.

    Refining his selectivity at the plate became an offseason focus for Yastrzemski, whose efforts appear to be paying dividends thus far. In 2020, the 29-year-old outfielder was leading the Majors with 13 walks over his first 55 plate appearances (23.6 percent) of the season. According to Statcast, he’s swinging at only 17.3 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone, down from 27 percent last year.

    “Little things like that will not only help the team, but it helps your average if you're not swinging at bad pitches and you're getting more walks,” Yastrzemski said. “It kind of takes at-bats away, essentially. So just trying to manage that and trying to find the pitches that we can do damage on.”

  • 2020: The pandemic-shortened season robbed Yastrzemski of a chance to make his first career NL All-Star team, but the 30-year-old late bloomer still earned recognition for his outstanding sophomore season when he was named to the All-MLB Second Team.

    Acquired from the Orioles in exchange for Minor League pitcher Tyler Herb in 2019, Yastrzemski has been a revelation for the Giants since debuting in the Majors in May 2019. He continued to build off his breakout rookie campaign by batting .297 with a .968 OPS, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs over 54 games in 2020. 

Fielding
  • Mike is a strong-armed outfielder who fits best as a center fielder. He has enough arm for right, and his throws are accurate.

  • Yastrzemski takes good routes to the ball and closes on the ball well.

  • Mike is a good defender, whose best position is probably right field, thanks to average speed and an accurate, average arm. Mike's team-first makeup would suit him in a role as an extra outfielder. (Spring 2016) 
  • From 2019 to 2022 with the Giants, Yastrzemski played all three outfield positions. (Baseball-Reference.com - Dec 2022)
Running
  • Mike has a great feel for running the bases. And he's a savvy runner, so his speed plays up.
  • Yastrzemski gets a 55 on the 20-80 scale for his above-average speed.
Career Injury Report
  • May 2017: Yastrzemski was on the 7-day disabled list in the minors.

  • Sept 18, 2020: Yastrzemski was out of the starting lineup for the series opener against the A’s after an MRI revealed a mild right calf strain. He is considered day-to-day, but manager Gabe Kapler said there’s a “very low probability” that he will be available in any capacity. Kapler said the Giants considered a stint on the injured list for Yastrzemski, but they decided to hold off to see how his body responds in the coming days. Because placing him on the 10-day IL would mean losing him for the rest of the regular season.

    Sept 25, 2020: Yastrzemski returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 17. The Giants received an emotional boost before the game with the return of Yastrzemski, who missed six games with a mild calf strain. He made a pinch-hit appearance in the club’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies, flying out to center field.

  • March 29, 2021: The Giants suffered another injury scare during the 7-2 win over the A’s, as right fielder Mike Yastrzemski exited the club’s exhibition finale after being struck on the left hand by a pitch from left-hander Sean Manaea in the third inning.

    Yastrzemski couldn’t hold up his swing and ended up striking out to start the third, but head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner immediately sprinted out onto the field to check on the 30-year-old slugger. Yastrzemski returned to the dugout at Hohokam Stadium and gathered his equipment before heading back to Scottsdale, Ariz., where he had his hand examined. X-rays were negative, and the team listed him as day to day with a contusion.

  • April 26, 2021: Yastrzemski underwent an MRI exam that revealed a “very mild” left oblique strain and could miss five to six games, but the Giants are hoping he’ll be able to avoid the injured list.

    April 28-May 7, 2021: Yastrzemski was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain 

  • June 3-12, 2021: Mike was on the IL with a right thumb sprain.

  • April 25-May 4, 2022: Mike was on the Covid-19 IL.