We are through approximately one week of baseball. The 2020 season was always going to be a little different. The differences are noticeable. No fans in the stands, the sounds of the game more prevalent than ever. Yet, there is something familiar as well. There are the familiar superstars like Mike Trout and Aaron Judge who remain a familiar aspect of this game. Then there is the weird. The weird has always been a familiar part of baseball. It is always weird. Even more so in a shortened 2020 season. One of the weirdest things so far is that the leader in WAR across the MLB through the first nine-ish games or so isn’t Trout or Judge. Nope, its a kid with a legendary lineage. Mike Yastrzemski.
The San Francisco Giants have played nine total games this season and sit at a surprising 5-4. The Giants started the season with their chances to make the playoffs at 12%. As of August 2nd that has elevated to 22.9%. They can largely attribute this hot start to Mike Yastrzemski or “Yaz”. During the first nine games of the season, Yaz has 41 plate appearances. In those appearances, he is hitting .400/.561/.767 with two home runs, ten runs scored, four RBIs, and a stolen base. All of that offensive production while playing a more than competent center field. That production has led to a 1.0 WAR. That is .03 higher than the several people tied for number two.
Of course, if you’ve heard the name “Yastrzemski” or “Yaz” before, there is a reason. Mike’s grandfather is the lauded Red Sox slugger and Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. The original “Yaz” is currently ranked 23rd all-time in career WAR at 94.8. While Mike Yastrzemski has a LONG way to go before he reaches his grandfather, who knows? It’s baseball.
That’s the whole point here. This is less about Mike Yastrzemski being one of the greatest players of all time. Instead, it is to outline the weird, the fun, and the wacky. Baseball is a weird sport and it often gives us wonderful, story-filled nuggets that we cherish. Mike Yastrzemski is leading the league WAR through nine games. Rookie Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis is tied for second at .07. Perennial MVP candidate Christian Yelich is the worst player in baseball with a -.05 WAR. Are those trends going to continue? Probably not, but it’s fun and weird, and so is baseball. Enjoy it!
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