October 2nd, 1983. That was the last day a Major League ball player wore the name “Yastrzemski” on his back. However, that may change come this summer.
Carl Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year career in the Majors with the Red Sox. There he batted .285/.379/.462 with 452 home runs and 1844 RBI. The six-time Gold Glove Award winner, 18-time All-Star and 1967 American League Most Valuable Player had an outstanding career. For this, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
Now 25 years after his career was immortalized in the Hall of Fame, his grandson Mike Yastrzemski is close to following his grandfather as a Major League Baseball player. Drafted out of Vanderbilt University by the Baltimore Orioles in the 14th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft, Yastrzemski had a lot to prove in the Minors. And prove he did.
After playing his first year with the Aberdeen IronBirds in 2013, Yastrzemski made a huge leap in Baltimore’s farm system this past season. Starting out 2014 in Single-A with the Delmarva Shorebirds, “Yaz” batted .306/.365/.554 with 34 extra-base hits and 44 RBI in just 63 games played with the team. The even more astonishing statistic was that the young player from Massachusetts hit just as many triples (10) as he did home runs (10).
These statistics earned him a spot in the Class A South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Shortly after the game, he was promoted up to the Frederick Keys where he continued right where he left off in Delmarva. In just 23 games played with the Keys, Yastrzemski batted .312/.364/.462 with 19 RBI and 10 extra-base hits. On July 5th, Yaz was put on notice nationally when he hit for the cycle after recording a ninth inning triple.
Just a couple of weeks later, Yastrzemski was packing his bags yet again as the Orioles decided to challenge him again by promoting him to Double-A Bowie. Although his batting average dropped significantly from what it was with the Shorebirds and Keys, he still put up good numbers. In 43 games with the Bowie Baysox, he hit .250/.310/.413 with 12 RBI and 20 extra-base hits, including four triples.
Needless to say Yastrzemski is rather fast. In 2014 between all three teams he played for in the Minors, he stole 18 bases and was caught stealing only six times. Stealing bases is something the Baltimore Orioles do not do on a regular basis. However, if Yaz continues at the pace he is going, you will see this youngster flying around the bases.
Mike Yastrzemski is no slouch in the field either. Playing the majority of his Minor League games in center field, he has a career .986 fielding percentage. He also has nine assists in center field. Unfortunately for Yastrzemski, center field is locked up in Baltimore by four-time Gold Glove Award winner, Adam Jones.
Fortunately, with Nelson Cruz most likely signing with another team for a big four year deal, left field is up for grabs. Although he has played just 30 games in left field, he has been able to maintain a 1.000 fielding percentage with two assists and 47 putouts.
Although he may not be on the Orioles’ roster on Opening Day of the 2015 season, I fully anticipate Yaz to make his Major League debut during the 2015 season. This player has a lot of energy and excitement to him and will be a big contributor to the Baltimore ball club once he gets that final call up to the Birds of Baltimore.