The New York Yankees have sent some of their bigger names to the Minor Leagues the past week. Jacob Lindgren and Gary Sanchez were both seen to have solid chances at breaking spring training on the big league roster, but once again, they begin the season in Triple-A.
As of Sunday, so will Rob Refsnyder. Refsnyder has been an enigma to the Yankees. Recently, I took a look at whether or not Ref still fits in to the New York Yankees future plans over at Minor League Ball.
2016 looks like more of the same for Rob Refsnyder. After being assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, Refsnyder will once again be trying to hone his defensive skills at another new position.
Refsnyder of course caught New York Yankees fans and prospect junkies attention with a spectacular run with the Trenton Thunder in 2014. The 2012 fifth round draft pick hit seemingly everything thrown at him as he slashed .342/.385/.548 in 60 Double-A games, while striking out just 38 times in 244 at bats (16%). The quick stop with the Thunder earned him a promotion to Scranton-Wilkes Barre where he also performed very well.
The Yankees entered 2015 with names like Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan, Gregorio Petit and eventually Dustin Ackley as options at second base and many were wondering when Refsnyder would get his chance. While Refsnyder continued to hit well with the RailRiders last season, he continued to struggle in the field.
Refsnyder of course gained national attention winning the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series for the University of Arizona in 2012. He did it as a starting right fielder. A year later, the Yankees would draft Aaron Judge, and Refsnyder was quickly moved to second base.
His first season was expectedly nightmarish, as he made 25 errors, but it was a transition to unfamiliar territory, so a learning curve was expected. He showed great promise cutting the errors in half in 2014, but saw a spike back to 18 in 2015. As someone who watched him in person in both 2014 and 2015, I can honestly say I saw major improvement in his range to both sides.
— Ben Diamond (@_BenDiamond) March 25, 2016
Still very much a work in progress, Ref got a small cup of tea in the Bronx in 2015. He showed he could handle big league pitching, picking up 13 hits (including three doubles and two home runs) in 43 at bats. His defense was ok in a limited role, making only one error and turning seven double plays, but his range factor (3.40) was his lowest since he changed positions in 2013.
And then came Starlin Castro.