SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The sting of lacking the playoffs nonetheless lingers for Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.
Final 12 months, the Giants fell only one win shy of clinching a spot within the expanded postseason subject, which might have marked the franchise’s first playoff look since 2016. They entered the ultimate weekend of the common season firmly in charge of their very own future, however they ended up dropping three consecutive video games to the Padres to drop out of rivalry and finish the 12 months with a 29-31 document, clinching the membership’s fourth consecutive dropping season.
“It is nonetheless irritating as a result of we’ve not had an opportunity to redeem ourselves but,” Yastrzemski mentioned following the Giants’ first full-squad exercise of the spring on Monday. “I believe till we get an opportunity to get out into the sphere, it is nonetheless somewhat thorn within the facet. We’re simply not happy.”
The Giants will enter the 2021 season with larger expectations, however they’re at present considered as lengthy photographs for the playoffs, significantly as a result of they play within the Nationwide League West, which includes a pair of behemoths within the Dodgers, the defending World Collection champions, and the Padres, who considerably upgraded their rotation by buying Blake Snell and Yu Darvish this winter.
Nonetheless, Yastrzemski mentioned he received’t enable the Dodgers’ and Padres’ offseason exercise to spoil his personal optimism concerning the 12 months forward.
“All of us have the identical likelihood proper now,” Yastrzemski mentioned. “That is the fantastic thing about Spring Coaching. It is day one, and everyone will get to go on the market and have the identical alternative. It is fascinating to go searching the league and see what is going on on proper now. We’re actually targeted on us and ensuring that we’re the most effective that we are able to presumably be. If we preserve that mentality and not fear about who we’re dealing with and not getting starstruck by huge names or something like that, then we’ll be simply positive.”
After ending eighth in NL MVP voting in 2020, Yastrzemski shall be counted on to anchor the Giants’ lineup as he enters his third season within the Majors. He batted .297 with a .968 OPS and 10 residence runs over 54 video games final 12 months and needs to be a mainstay atop the order together with new infielder Tommy La Stella, who signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract and is thought for his elite plate self-discipline.
“I need to study from him,” Yastrzemski mentioned of La Stella. “He does an important job of controlling his at-bat and ensuring that he will get what he desires out of it. To have a man like that, the place the opposing pitchers do not need to face them — they do not need to throw 10 pitches, 12 pitches to at least one man — and to place that frustration on the mound is de facto good as a result of hopefully in some unspecified time in the future they are going to make a mistake, and we’ll reap the benefits of it.”
Yastrzemski shall be an essential piece of the outfield puzzle as effectively. The 30-year-old primarily performed proper subject in 2020, however he has expertise enjoying all three outfield spots and will issue into the center-field combine this 12 months to present the Giants extra depth behind projected starter Mauricio Dubón. Yastrzemski noticed time in middle final 12 months, and the Giants consider he did a greater job there than some defensive metrics have indicated.
“He got here very shut to creating three or 4 extra performs that I believe would have modified the notion of his defensive 12 months,” supervisor Gabe Kapler mentioned final week. “He was capable of get to a whole lot of balls that it appeared like he may not get to, after which he wasn’t capable of full the play both as a result of he’d go for the ball and it popped out of his glove, or he made contact with the wall and he simply wasn’t capable of get the play by way of the finish line.”
Yastrzemski mentioned he plans to make a concerted effort to deal with ending performs throughout batting follow this 12 months to enhance his protection in 2021.
“As an alternative of going on the market and taking 10 to fifteen reps of half-hearted effort and saying, ‘Oh, I can go make this play,’ and simply jogging at it, taking it like a sport rep and specializing in these so the main focus could be very intent,” Yastrzemski mentioned. “Simply minimizing them and ensuring that they are at full velocity the whole time.”