With a blind look, it seems as though the New York Yankees have lost interest in Rob Refsnyder. Does he fit in the organization’s projected design?
Rob Refsnyder, once a highly regarded offensive prospect in the New York Yankees organization, seems like a youngster that will not blossom with the team that drafted him out of the University of Arizona in 2012.
While it’s a shame, there just seems to be no interest in Refsnyder manning a perpetual position in the Bronx anytime soon.
Think about it. His stellar demonstration with the bat never, at any moment, warranted any meaningful playing time.
In 2014, after Refsnyder cranked 58 extra-base hits (14 home runs, 38 doubles, six triples) in 137 minor league games comprising of an OPS of .884 in the minors, rather than being called up in September, infielder Jose Pirela was called up as a backup infielder with Martin Prado receiving playing time at second base.
During Stephen Drew’s lifeless play in 2015, Refsnyder was stuck in the minors and played a mere 16 games in navy blue pinstripes.
Refnsyder was effective in that limited time as he slashed .302/.348/.512 and even earned a start in the American League Wild Card game. Following the stint, however, it was more of the same.
Entering 2016, the 25-year old was expected to be platooned with Dustin Ackley as the two starting second basemen. Then, Starlin Castro was obtained from the Chicago Cubs leaving the South Korean-native without a major league job to begin 2016.
After a failed attempt to play third base —a position he had never played before— to perfection, he began the year in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and earned a start here and there in the pros thanks to the ineffectiveness of Mark Teixeira.
After slashing .264/.336/.328 in 45 games (in which the Yankees were 27-18 in), he was sent down prior to the priority of playing the “Baby Bombers” was issued.
With that Refsnyder in the Electric City once again, Tyler Austin received most of the reps at first with Aaron Judge being the main man at the position Refsnyder played when drafted.
He played a handful of games in right once Judge went down late in the season, but overall, it’s evident that either manager Joe Girardi or Cashman don’t trust his a promising young hitter proficient enough to play various positions.
At this point, they find Ronald Torreyes or Aaron Hicks to be more dependable reserves than Refsnyder. No, there is no issue with that, however, a decision needs to be made it that’s the case.
Perhaps dealing him to a team interested in his services — which the Yankees are apparently not — instead of retaining a kid who should be able to wheel in a half-decent return or even be packaged in a transaction that delivers improvement to the starting rotation.
After all, no one suspects him to beat out Austin for a backup role nor drive himself into a position to nab the starting first base job over Greg Bird.
Perhaps it’s in both parties’ best interest that they move on. Refsnyder will be able to pencil himself in a starting lineup in a home other than New York while Cashman can fix his greatest question mark.
On the other hand, he could beat out Torreyes as the team’s utility player for 2017. That’s if, and only if, he taps into his power potential because, in that case, he could be the Yankees’ version of Ben Zobrist.
No, he won’t be as slick with the glove nor consistent with the bat but he could provide value in more ways than one. It’s up to Cashman and company to trust him in that role.
Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.