The Cleveland Guardians' high-flying, acrobatic, and Gold-Glove-winning outfielderMyles Straw is known for his incredible fielding ability.
However, during the 2022 season, he was most known for his horrific inconsistencies at the plate that often cost the Guardians down the stretch of the season. Now, Straw has seemingly put his disappointing 2022 far in the rearview mirror, as he's started 2023 on a tear to the tune of a .360/.500/.400 line with a whopping five stolen bases already.
Last year, Straw was given a fresh five-year, $25 million contract extension with the Guardians. After signing that nice extension, he slashed .291/.387/.380 and posted a career-high 14% walk rate through the first month of the season.
Then the calendar flipped a page and hit May, and he fell off the face of the earth for the next five months. He slashed just .178/.245/.221, holding back the bottom portion of the Guardians' lineup.
In September, his bat came back to life, as he rounded out the year with a slashing line of .308/.364/.364. While those numbers helped bring a glimmer of hope to Guardians fans for 2023, any and all concerns were still valid.
During the offseason, questions circulated over whether or not the organization was going to move on from the inconsistent hitter, but the team ultimately decided to stick with their elite center fielder.
And so far, those issues from last season have largely disappeared.
Through the opening eight games to start the season, in 25 at-bats, Straw has nine hits, including a double, three RBIs, and, perhaps most importantly, six walks to five strikeouts, showcasing his typical good eye at the plate.
After what was considered a particularly troublesome 2022 campaign, it looks as though Guardians hitting coach Chris Valaika has fixed some of the issues with Straw, but will those changes remain permanent?
As mentioned above, he was phenomenal to start the season last year, but quickly fell back down to earth like an asteroid out of orbit.
However, this season feels different. His presence at the plate looks much more calm and composed, with his patience being a deciding factor in certain at-bats. With Straw being much more consistent to start the year, it opens up the door for the entire lineup to thrive.
When an outfield like the Guardians has young talent like Steven Kwan, who looks like a veteran at the plate, Oscar Gonzalez, who has already had his own eye-popping moments, and even newbie Will Brennan who can provide some depth, Straw just adds to the threat of the offense.
It'll most certainly take time to see whether or not the Guardians were able to make a permanent fix in Straw's approach, or if things will come crashing back down again once May hits.