BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of wrapping up a second consecutive season among Major League Baseball’s worst teams. With 10 games left to go and already 103 games in the loss column for the team, positive, feel-good stories have been hard for fans to find.

That is what makes the emergence of Mike Yastrzemski for the San Francisco Giants more frustrating. Yastrzemski, for those who remember, was originally drafted by the Orioles in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. He spent his first six seasons in the O’s farm system reaching as high as Triple-A Norfolk in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The team traded him to the Giants in March and, after some injuries in the team’s outfield, he has made an impact on the big club hitting .265 with 20 homers and 53 RBI and a .839 OPS in 339 at-bats.

This week was particularly special for Yastrzemski as he got to play in Fenway, where his grandfather and baseball legend Carl, thrilled Red Sox fans for years en route to a Hall of Fame career. On Wednesday night, the elder Yaz got to throw out the first pitch to his grandson, which followed a Tuesday night homer at Fenway for Mike with his grandfather in attendance.

That amazing moment is a bright spot for the Giants in an otherwise lost season as San Francisco is eight games back of the Wild Card and likely to miss the playoffs. It is a moment that the Orioles could have potentially had if they held on to Yastrzemski, who though a late bloomer at age 29, has shown this season he is capable of holding down a spot in a Major League lineup.

Many Orioles fans are seemingly scratching their heads as another former prospect found success on another team. Yet as WJZ’s Mark Viviano points out, it’s tough to blame the organization too much — based on the fact that the Yastrzemski is clearly a late-developing prospect and the team is in the midst of a rebuild.

“He’s 29 & in Majors for first time,” tweets Viviano. “A late bloomer & a great story but not a prime candidate for a team that’s just beginning a rebuild with hopes of being good [years] from now.”

But, that being said, Yastrzemski certainly could have filled a corner outfield spot for the team as a bridge through the rebuild to the eventual vision of GM Mike Elias. Instead, O’s fans watch from afar as he gets to shine for San Fran.

In the meantime, for those fans who say the “rebuild” isn’t working out thus far, Viviano offers some glimmer of hope.

“Actually – this IS what a rebuild looks like,” he notes, pointing to three sub-60-win years of the Houston Astros before finally showing some growth — and an eventual return to prominence.

So, as painful as 2019 continues to be, hang in there O’s fans. It’ll take time — just as Yastrzemski, who patiently waited six years before making a big splash in the big leagues.


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