One of the hottest bats the New York Yankees contain is the lumber of utility man Rob Refsnyder and he’s making his case to remain in the lineup.
Sure, his defense is subpar, but the way New York has been hobbling him around the baseball diamond he has become a potent bat that can play four positions.
With Dustin Ackley landing a spot on the disabled list with a torn right labrum, the 25-year old got a well-deserved call to the major league squad out of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
There, he maintained a .293/.336/.398 slash line with two home runs in 34 games with the Railriders and had a 16-game hitting streak that ended on May 13.
Initially, he proved his worth on Saturday in the Yankees’ 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics thanks to a 10-pitch at-bat followed by a crucial RBI double off the right-center field wall at the Coliseum en route to a Yankee win.
Yesterday, he did more of the same by going 2-for-3 with a crucial RBI single and two runs scored in the Yankees’ thrilling win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.
In four games up at the big league level here in 2016, Refsnyder is 4-for-10 with three doubles and three RBI including an OPS of 1.100. One of the best parts? He brings a potent right-handed bat to the lineup that ranks 23rd in batting average against left-handed pitching.
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Of course, its a small sample size but Refsnyder is a special type of hitter that goes up to the dish with a plan as his arsenal of talents features an impeccable baseball mind.
He’s the kind of guy that can work the count until he gets his pitch like we saw in Oakland and the type of guy that can be aggressive in order to come through when his team needs him the most.
There is literally no question on if he could hit major league pitching. Refsnyder has proved that. The problem now is that he’s below-average third baseman and a below-average second baseman, something that general manager Brian Cashman has touched upon.
But A) he made a pretty sweet double play in the first inning in yesterday’s contest and B) yet another position may be on the horizon for the appealing prospect.
Since Ackley hit the DL, no one is adequate enough to play first base once the disappointing Mark Teixeira needs a day off.
Austin Romine has played there as a major leaguer plenty of times and has some decent experience there while in the minors. but as the team’s backup catcher it seems unlikely that the Yankees will risk a devastating injury occurring.
Refsnyder, although just 6’0″, started as a right fielder at the University of Arizona before the New York Yankees converted him into what Cashman considered him to be a below-average second baseman. He has played at third this past spring training and although he wasn’t eye-popping at the position, he can hypothetically play there as an emergency option.
Last week, Refsnyder was seen with first base coach Tony Pena and infield coordinator Joe Espada taking ground balls at first at the Rogers Centre.
Refsnyder has revealed the fact that he can hit in the minors, give a quality at-bat in the majors, and the ability to learn a new position. Yes, his defense is mediocre, but his versatility featuring a tough out should only help this decrepit New York Yankees offense that ranks 27 in runs, hits, and overall batting average.
If I’m Joe Girardi, Refsnyder needs to find a way into the lineup and work around him in terms of where he should play.
The bottom line is: you need his bat in the lineup regardless of the position. He can play four positions, (left, right, second, third) and even though we’re not too sure if he’s ready to start taking on first base, this kid needs to play.