Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw has had a season to forget, at least offensively. Defensively, he’s still easily one of the best outfielders in the game.
But at the plate, it’s been a very different story.
Straw has been historically bad at the plate at times this season, enduring all-time-worst slumps that ultimately pushed him down to the last spot in Cleveland’s lineup. In August alone, Straw hit just .093/.115/.107 with no homers , one double, and four RBIs in 78 plate appearances. Even more unlike him, he struck out 12 times to just two walks.
But to his credit, Straw has stuck with it all season, saved in part by his stellar defense that allowed him to continue to work through his issues at the plate. And after turning the page to September, Straw has been a completely different hitter. In his 68 September at-bats, Straw is hitting a robust .338/.400/.427 with four doubles, a triple, and five RBIs. He’s also walked seven times to nine strikeouts, far more in line with his typical approach.
After signing a five-year, $25 million contract extension right as the season started, it was expected that Straw would remain the Guardians’ leadoff man for years to come. But with his struggles right out of the gate – and the emergence of rookie Steven Kwan, who really does profile better as a leadoff hitter – Straw was moved to the ninth spot.
But having Straw at the bottom of the lineup could prove to be an embarrassment of riches for the Guardians. He is still a career .246/.322/.315 hitter, and that’s including his painful 2022 season. If Cleveland can get that kind of production from the bottom of the lineup, with Straw being able to turn things back over to Kwan and the rest of the lineup, that’s going to bode very well for this offense moving forward – especially as more young players will likely populate the bottom of the lineup come next season.
It’s been an incredibly tough year for Myles Straw, but he’s getting hot again at the perfect time, with the Guardians’ magic number to secure the AL Central dwindling by the day. If he’s really started to turn the corner, this tough Cleveland lineup just gets that much tougher.