MLB: The most valuable left fielders of 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: Fans and Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) await the ball during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, on September 15, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: Fans and Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) await the ball during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, on September 15, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images) /

7. Mike Yastrzemski, San Francisco Giants, $7.771 million value, $569,000 salary

The amazing part of Yastrzemski’s story is that he climbed this high on the list of MLB left fielders despite being in the minor leagues for the first third of the season.

When Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson finally did arrive in late May, the Giants gave him a full opportunity. The results included 21 home runs, a .272 batting average and .852 OPS that translated to a 123 OPS+. Giants fans could be excused for feeling that they had found the second coming of Carl Yastrzemski.

That may be premature, but this Yaz did run up a 2.8 WAR in his two-thirds of a season, setting his offensive value at $6.824 million. That’s a neat return on a major league minimum salary.

He supplemented that with 1.98 chances accepted, always a plus in the spacious San Francisco outfield and sixth best among all MLB left fielders. That earned him another $507,000. Limited to 821 innings of playing time by his delayed arrival, he ranked only 18th, adding a final $439,000 to the credit side of his ledger.

As a pre-arbitration player, Yastrzemski should continue to be a significant asset to the Giants for the foreseeable future. With a full season available to him in 2020, it’s not out of the question that he emerges by this time next year as among the two or three most valuable left fielders in the game.