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2021 Guardians #6 MVP: Myles Straw

The midseason acquisition earned fans with excellent fielding and consistent batting

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

You like Myles Straw.


I know that you were hesitant at first. Who is this strapping young Spaceman? Are reports of his talents accurate? Does he, like so many former Cleveland outfielders, use the wall to slow down?

Time. Time either answers all questions or quietly leads them downstairs after which they are never heard from again despite various rumors around the village about ghosts. You understand.

Myles Straw will be no ghost in Cleveland, and you are excited to know this. As you peruse his 2021 statistics you notice a slash line of .271/.349/.348. Not bad, you mutter, but I could use a little more SLG. This feeling whisps away as you glance at his 98 wRC+ and 10.9 DEF rating from FanGraphs for the season. It disintegrates when you note that he was a much better defender in Houston than Cleveland — a vision of Myles Straw robbing a home run in left field during a long homestand fills your eyes. It does not matter that Myles cannot jump nineteen feet into the air. It’s a daydream. It’s neat.

When you return to your sense, you realize you’re gazing at Straw’s minor league statistics. Yes... yes I see. He’s always been a fine contact hitter. He struggles in his first season after promotion and then figures it out. Houston took their time with him, too. This was his first full season and he put up 3.7 fWAR as a center fielder between two teams.

You read that again.

You read it a third time.

You wonder, once more, how often Myles Straw uses the wall to slow himself down.

It is raining and the baristas are goofing. The man behind you is reading Dan Brown and muttering that he is sensational. The woman in front of you just ordered seven unique frozen drinks and is now asking whether or not they can be served on top of cupcake towers in time for Senior Homecoming.

You just want a coffee.

Suddenly, Myles Straw appears. He punches The Lost Symbol out of the man’s hand and gives him an adorable puppy instead. The man goes on to become the world’s most successful dog trainer.

He leaps over the counter, spikes a small capsule on the ground, and suddenly the entire coffee shop is filled with smoke. When it clears, you’re on the mound at Progressive Field. Myles Straw is at the plate, and Austin Hedges just called for your curveball.

You are holding a cup of coffee.

You throw the coffee at the plate and are surprised to see a fair amount of arm-side run. Straw, unintimidated, squares up the pitch and sends it into Pierre’s. The small ice cream shop on the home run porch explodes into the Commissioner’s Trophy.

You are back in line. It is raining and the baristas are staring at you. Have been for some time.

Center Field in Cleveland isn’t quite Defense Against the Dark Arts, but you wonder how much WAR Snape would be worth anyway. If he grabbed a lock of Jacob DeGrom’s hair and made a Poly—

It doesn’t matter. You’re sitting at spring training in Goodyear, Arizona, and Myles Straw is at the plate. He’s stayed healthy this spring and you’re looking forward to seeing what a young, talented, speedy center fielder can do. You have not been this excited about a Cleveland outfielder since Michael Brantley in 2014. You imagine purchasing a jersey and the sheer panic within your heart banishes the thought forever.

Never tempt the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing when it comes to exciting young outfielders.

As you focus on Straw’s jersey, you watch it twist, torque, crank. Maple cries. Rawhide sears. Deep in the left-field seats, a child will now live the rest of his life with a dented head. You try to console the child by giving him the ball you stole from him while he was unconscious. It is pointless. The mother is calling the police and the hot dog vendor is shaking his head as he eyes you, cracking each knuckle with purpose.

It is a long drive back to Cleveland, but you cannot wait to see what the regular season holds.

Statcast doesn’t lie, but statisticians can. The real problem is when no one is curating the data and it assembles itself into a lie before anyone touches it.

Myles Straw is an impact bat despite his lack of pop

Statcast is not uncurated, you remind yourself. Still, you are sitting and blinking and genuinely confused by the numbers in front of you. “Is this really a 98 wRC+?” you ask yourself. Terry, your sales manager, turns around and grills you for fifteen minutes about your call numbers. Sixty-two calls is barely enough for a power hour. I’m not sure if laser sales is your passion. Should we have a conversation about your future here?

Before you realize it you are explaining how speed and baserunning are genuinely underappreciated tools in the era of SLG and K%. You are waxing about the patience and tenacity of a hitter who is more than capable of launching a deep drive but is more concerned with reaching base. Baseball, after all, is a game about not making outs.

You are fired, but Myles Straw is starting. You never think about lasers again.

You are at home, reading a baseball article on a blog. You’re not entirely sure if you’ve learned anything, but you are excited about a fairly young and talented outfielder. You didn’t even realize he performed at a close-to All-Star caliber pace for the entire season. His first full season.

Just to see — just to get an idea — you go into the backyard. You eye the fence. You imagine chasing down a long fly ball and begin to sprint.

It does not stop you, and you are embarrassed as the nurse removes several wedges of cedar from your body before applying sutures. It is fine — they have put the game on the TV. You watch as Myles Straw extends his arm, finds the wall, and leaps to make a catch.

As your soul disintegrates into pure energy, you are alarmed to find out that you are dying from a preventable infection. But peace. Peace is all you know. The last thing you ever see is Myles Straw nailing a dude at home from the warning track.

Lucifer greets you warmly. Hands you a Myles Straw jersey. You decline. You know better.

  • Shane Bieber: 96.2 IP, 3.17 ERA, 33.1 K%, 8.1 BB%, 3.21 SIERA, 2.6 fWAR
  • Aaron Civale: 124.1 IP, 3.84 ERA, 19.9 K%, 6.2 BB%, 4.41 SIERA, 0.8 fWAR
  • Andres Gimenez: .218/.282/.351, 5 HR, 11 SB, 5.2 BB%, 25.7 K%, 73 wRC+, 0.8 fWAR
  • Triston McKenzie: 120.0 IP, 4.95 ERA, 27.5 K%, 11.7 BB%, 4.36 SIERA, 1.1 fWAR
  • Eli Morgan: 89.1 IP, 5.34 ERA, 21.4 K%, 5.8 BB%, 4.51 SIERA, 0.4 fWAR
  • Zach Plesac: 142.2 IP, 4.67 ERA, 16.7 K%, 5.7 BB%, 4.73 SIERA, 1.1 fWAR
  • Bradley Zimmer: 227/.325/.344, 8 HR, 15 SB, 8.6 BB%, 35.1 K%, 89 wRC+, 1.1 fWAR


You are voting for a poll. You must decide, "Who should be our No. 7 Guardians player for 2021?"

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Shane Bieber
    (37 votes)
  • 14%
    Aaron Civale
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    Andres Gimenez
    (0 votes)
  • 22%
    Triston McKenzie
    (17 votes)
  • 5%
    Eli Morgan
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    Zach Plesac
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Bradley Zimmer
    (1 vote)
75 votes total Vote Now

You find the pointless section at the bottom of the article that contains no information. You keep reading it out of sheer morbid curiosity. Disappointed, you realize that the author is now wasting your time and you go to the comments to let him know how rude that is.