With the signing of Chase Headley, the Yankees not only ensured solid play at the hot corner for the next four seasons, they gave themselves a dependable defensive infield unit for the 2015 season. As it stands, the third baseman will take the field with Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Mark Teixeira at first and, according to Brian Cashman, Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will get their shot at second. A competition if you will, read HERE.
People in the organization know that both Refsnyder and Pirela can hit. In a limited appearance with the big league squad in September, Pirela batted .333. Refsnyder batted .300 over 77 games at Scranton last year – after hitting .370 over 60 games to start the season at Trenton. There is little doubt that when they do finally get a full-time role in the Bronx... and they will, trust me, the pair will provide a boost to the Yankees offense.
The questions in regards to both surround fielding. Refsnyder entered the organization as an outfielder and is still learning second base. In 2013 his fielding percentage was .943, and last season it rose to .977. He cut his number of errors from 25 to 12. He’s getting there. Prior to Headley’s signing, speculation was that second base was Refsnyder’s in 2015. In theory, Prado would have to spend the majority of his time at third base, as Alex Rodriguez could no longer be counted on to man that position. That changed when Headley entered the picture.
Pirela, for the most part, has been bounced between second base and shortstop, and last season saw significant time in the outfield. It seems that the team is grooming him to be a utility player. At shortstop, his fielding percentage is quite low - .930 (in 2011 he made 37 errors at short), and at second base he has a pedestrian .972 pct.
At 24 and 25-years-old, respectively, Refsnyder and Pirela still remain promising prospects for the Yankees (Baseball America ranks Refsnyder 7th in the organization). The fact that neither may have starting roles in the Bronx this year can only allow them the chance to hone their skills.
Their doors aren’t closing.
There’s actually a good probability that either one, or both, will make the Major League squad. For instance, if the Yanks ended up going with Ref as their primary 2nd baseman, Pirela has displayed decent speed on the base paths (he has stolen 34 bases in 44 attempts over the past two seasons) and would be useful in late innings when we need to generate a run.
Also, keep in mind, Pirela provides the Yankees with a good bat and good base running when the team tries to generate late inning rallies. He’s had experience at every position except catcher, so he’d be able to handle being inserted wherever Girardi needs him.
It is true, our GM tends to discard or ignore the talent we have in the minor leagues, but I think with Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder that isn’t the case. 2015 will be their stepping stone.
Our future is bright with guys like Refsnyder and Pirela waiting in the wings. Over the next 3 or 4 seasons, they’ll be paired with other names like Jagielo, Bird, Bichette Jr., Austin, Severino, O’Neill, Clarkin, and Judge to form the new core of success for MLB’s greatest franchise.
Get excited Yankee fans... the youth movement is coming!