Someday in the distant future, there might just be another Yaz in the Red Sox outfield.
In the 36th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft Thursday afternoon, the Red Sox selected St. John’s Prep (Danvers) outfielder Michael Yastrzemski.
The last name, of course, isn’t just familiar in New England. It’s legendary. He is the grandson of Red Sox icon and Baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.
The Globe’s Stan Grossfeld detailed the baseball-oriented relationship between Yaz and his grandson in a February article.
Carl Yastrzemski has tutored his grandson on the art of hitting, particularly since his son and Michael’s father, Mike Yastrzemski, died at age 44 in 2004 from a heart attack after hip surgery.
“I think he’s got a chance [to eventually play in the majors],” Yaz told Grossfeld. “He can hit. He’s a good outfielder, he runs well, and he’s got a strong arm. He’s come a long way.”
Ray Fagnant, the New England regional scout for the Red Sox, told Grossfeld in February that he was impressed with the youngest Yaz.
“I went to a tournament in Lynn and I saw a kid have two or three good at-bats in a row,” said Fagnant. “I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know Yaz had a grandson. And I got a roster and I said, ‘Whoa, Yastrzemski.’ The name really perks your interest, but what I like is I identified him before I knew who he was.
“He has a good swing and good instincts and he works at it,” says the scout. “He’s got a pretty good hitting coach. Yaz had an ear-to-ear smile on his face when his grandson was hitting. He’s got a lot of ability, but there’s a lot of kids in his boat. We just have to see him play.”
Yastrzemski, 18, stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 185 pounds. He was considered by scouts to be worthy of an early-round selection, but he has received a scholarship to play baseball at Vanderbilt University and has said the only way he would back out of his commitment was if he was drafted in the first round. But a chance to sign with the Red Sox may be difficult to resist if the club’s intent is to try to sign him now.
“It’s going to be a tough decision [if I get drafted],” said Michael in February. “Most likely I’ll go to school. I’d play anywhere. Obviously, I’m going to get my grandfather’s advice.”
Yaz admitted to Grossfeld that he hoped the Sox would select his grandson.
“If the opportunity presents itself,” he said.
Thursday, the opportunity did. Now it’s up to the Yastrzemskis to decide what to do with it.