He is the talk of the town...
“Who is this guy?”
“Where have the Yanks been hiding this kid?”
“What’s a Nunez?”
He is Yangervis Solarte and he is one of the top hitters in the American League coming into Wednesday night’s game against the New York Mets. Solarte wasn’t even in the Yankees’ 2014 plan going into Spring Training. He was a career Minor Leaguer and your basic “Player to be named later” type guy. That’s not to say scouts didn’t see him as talented, it was more a question of would he be able to take that next step and reach the Big Leagues. Yangervis has answered a lot of questions as we reach the quarter point of the season. He just may be the real deal and a hell of a nice surprise for the New York Yankees.
It seems like a long, long time ago that the Bronx Faithful lost sleep wondering how bad Eduardo Nunez would be replacing Alex Rodriguez at 3rd base. Nunie was a player the Yankees had once thought a great deal of, but his lack of pop and horrendous infield play became too much to bare. When camp broke and Yangervis Solarte had made the Opening Day roster most fans figured he’d be the first guy to be sent down…many of us have been proven wrong.
The more I think about the Yankees’ utility infielder the more I remember 2005. The Bombers had hit a rough patch early on and a call was made to the farm. A young second baseman with a big upside joined the Yanks and seemed to fit right in.
No, I am not comparing Yangervis to Robinson Cano so soon. I am simply saying that they both seemed to hit the ground running and gain confidence fairly quickly once they reached the Major League Level. I sat in a friend’s living room with my buddy “Ronnie Baseball” (No relation). We watch the way Cano handled himself on the field. Yes, he was rough around the edges, but he seemed to be able to slow the game down like he’d been in the Show for a while. Yangervis has that same spark.
You can see him watching and learning from the veterans. He is making the most of his chance. Could he be a flash in the pan? Sure, but if I was a betting man I'd bet Solarte is around for a while. Some guys take a while to figure it out and find their game, but once they do, they go and never look back.
The question now is where to bat the young man. He is hitting the ball with authority and takes pitches (despite not profiling as a patient guy). Would a move up the lineup card be a bad idea?
I know we are hearing a lot about maybe taking Derek Jeter out of the two hole (I wrote about how I don’t think that time is now in I'M NOT TELLING HIM) and maybe it could be time. Jeet is not done yet, but if he slumps I would have no issue moving him down to shake it off. The lineup doesn’t have to be set in stone. Go with the hot hand and see what happens. Everyone seems to think Jeter hitting in another spot would be seen as an insult. Why? He can be moved. I promise you his feelings will not be hurt. He is the Captain for a reason.
With Tex hitting (I know, thus far I owe him an apology) why not try Gardy, Jacoby, Solarte and Tex 1 through 4? I’m not saying it stays that way, but it might do wonders for the lineup. It’s still May, a hot hitter could move runners early and the Yankees have been strong with an early lead. Plus with the injuries to the staff giving spot starters an early cushion can only help.
Joe Girardi is the manager and it’s ultimately his call. I don’t think Jeter needs to be shuffled at this point either, but I do believe in going with a hot hand and that it can be contagious for the rest of the team.
I am rooting for Yangervis. He just seems to get it.
**What else could I play? This one’s for you, Solarte.”
--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
"Paulie was always my favorite player."
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