Rather than Ike Davis slumping his way to a DFA, it was Rob Refsnyder earning his place with the New York Yankees.
Rob Refsnyder won out in the situation and now has an opportunity to thrive as a super-utility man in the Bronx. He has proven his reliability in all facets of the game.
Aside from his bat, his transition to first base added major value to his name. Starting the year with comfortability at second base and right field, he attempted to slide over to third.
Spring training could have been feasibly viewed as a nightmare at the hot corner. He was hit in the face twice while displaying that he was a below average third baseman at best. With that said, he still possessed the relative craft of the position heading into the season through the abbreviated experience.
His increased versatility over time gave the Yankees the hope that first base was in the equation on short notice. Never playing a game at the position, and only taking practice grounders on a few occasions, he handily slid over in Teixeira’s absence.
Throughout the transition, he never faltered with the one factor that was always viewed as a constant: his bat.
He maintains a stellar .286 average in 21 big league games this season and hit a more than serviceable .262 in 15 games as a starting first baseman. His smooth stroke and comfortable approach at the plate make him a generally attractive option in the lineup.
In addition, his ability to mash left-handers provides a presence, particularly when residing with an offense that has struggled mightily against southpaws for the majority of the season. His brilliant .333/.400/.524 slash against lefties certainly resulted and will result in extra at-bats.
Another factor helping the 25-year-old was timing. When Davis was signed, he excelled. If the new signee had ran off a two day stretch like the one the Yanks witnessed with Chris Parmelee, Refsnyder might be back in Scranton.
The youngster did not give Davis any breathing room and forced his way into the lineup as a result. In the two weeks following the announced the signing of a first base veteran, he worked his way to a .346 average and a .414 on-base percentage. The organization was not going to part with that.
Sitting near the top of the Yankees’ radar for quite some time in the minors, they always knew he had a bat. The 2012 fifth round amateur draft pick was always viewed as a piece to a much larger puzzle — the future of the franchise.
Now that he has flexibility as a trait, he can contribute his worth up until the second he is handed an everyday big league position. Having “no room” for him is no longer a concern.
The recent addition of first base to his repertoire might have been the best thing that happened to Refsnyder as his days in the minors may be long gone.