The Giants are hoping for a better 2023 MLB season, and it all starts with the work players put in during the offseason.
That’s been a point of emphasis for Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who revealed to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic and Laura Britt on the latest episode of “Giants Talk” what he’s been working to improve on this season.
“I think it can get a lot better,” Yastrzemski said. “One of the things is the workload management, knowing when to go out on the field, when to kind of take your breathers and make sure that you’re rested for the day, whether that’s after a long road trip or long flight or you just wake up and you’re feeling it one day.
“So, I think having a better feel for my body and understanding what I have to do to make sure that I can cover that range will be very helpful this year.”
Yastrzemski primarily has played in right field where he’s proven to shine. In 2021, he had a 2.26 range factor per nine innings as a right fielder, leading the NL for the second consecutive season. That same season, he was one of the finalists for an NL Gold Glove Award in right field.
However, in 2022, he bounced around the outfield, playing 104 games in right field, 93 games in center field and one game at DH.
Yastrzemski will be back in center field this season, and the consistency should allow him to be more comfortable at the position.
While the mental side of the game is just as important as the physical side, Yastrzemski shared some of his goals for himself at the plate.
“Trying to eliminate some of my misses in the air,” Yastrzemski said. “There were way too many pop-ups. Strikeouts are going to happen in the game, so those things I’m not so focused on trying to eliminate. Just making sure I’m swinging at good pitches and really trying to eliminate the pop-ups and soft contact in the air.
“That’s really my focus in spring is to getting back to being a really pure hitter as opposed to just trying to go out there and trying to do damage.”
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He did plenty of damage in his first season in the big leagues, hitting .272/.334/.518 with 21 home runs, 55 RBIs, and 64 runs scored in 371 at-bats in 107 games in 2019.
It's a new year and, like the Giants, he'll get a fresh start to get back to his MVP-level play.