As the Yankees went into the final series before the All Star break, Rob Refsnyder got the chance of a lifetime and took the field as a major league ballplayer. Now it appears that he will get the chance to keep that job, as he will stay with the club as the Yankees head into the second half of the season. That would be good news, as the Yankees desperately need some hitting. The especially need somebody who can hit above .200 playing second base.
There are a lot of rumors floating around about Refsnyder being trade bait. Honestly, I don't believe it. When you have a kid in the minor league system hitting close to .300 and having an OPS topping out at .800, like Refsnyder is, you would never risk the perceived value by bringing him to the majors and taking a chance on him hitting poorly. You would bring him up because you need a legitimate second baseman. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part because I like the kid.
Regardless of what happens, the fact is that the Yankees need him to be playing second base at the major league level. They suffered through the first half of the season with a second baseman hitting .182 and worth a fielding percentage a hair above the league average. Stephen Drew is a backup infielder and occasional defensive substitution, and should not be easy everyday weak link in the lineup.
Refsnyder was sent down from spring training to work on his defense, and he still has work to do there. In two major league games, he has already recorded his first error and his fielding percentage at AAA of .966 indicates that he has room for improvement. Nevertheless, that may be good enough for what the Yankees need to do down the stretch. It was good enough for Sunday's game where he recorded his first major league home run - a 2 run home run in the 9th inning that turned out to be the difference in the game.
I believe that if the Yankees hang on to Refsnyder, this will have a cascading effect on the entire infield. Knowing that Drew could substitute at shortstop, Didi Gregorius now has incentive to step up his defense. Even Chase Headley, who has committed an usually high number of errors this year, can be the victim of a defensive substitution late in the game. The point is that Refsnyder could be the straw that stirs the drink in the infield, and his presence could be the tipping point for the second half. It should be interesting.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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