At this time two years ago, Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski was coming off his sixth season in the minors and wondering if he would ever get a chance to take the field in a big league game. On Wednesday, he was listed right alongside the game's best players.
Yastrzemski was named to the All-MLB Second Team during a selection special that aired on MLB Network, joining Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and Michael Conforto of the New York Mets. The first team outfielders were Mookie Betts of the Dodgers, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals.
Yastrzemski finished eighth in NL MVP voting -- the highest by a Giant since Buster Posey in 2014 -- after following his breakout 2019 season with an even better one. Among MLB outfielders, he trailed only Mookie Betts in Wins Above Replacement (2.7) and ranked sixth in OPS (.968), eighth in runs (39) and 12th in RBI (35). Yastrzemski batted .297 and hit 10 homers in 54 appearances.
Yastrzemski's offensive numbers ticked up across the board as he got a greater grasp of the strike zone in his second big league season and became one of the game's most dangerous hitters with two strikes. He also rated as a good baserunner while shifting between right field and center for manager Gabe Kapler.
The All-MLB teams were first introduced last year, with 50 percent of the vote coming from fans and 50 percent coming from a panel of experts. First baseman Brandon Belt and second baseman Donovan Solano were also named as nominees following the 60-game season but were not finalists.
In addition to Betts, Trout and Soto, the first team consisted of DH Marcell Ozuna, catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Freddie Freeman, second baseman DJ LeMahieu, third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The starting pitchers were Trevor Bauer, Shane Bieber, Jacob deGrom, Max Fried and Yu Darvish, and the selected relievers were Nick Anderson and Liam Hendriks.