When it comes to prospects, sometimes, it’s the guys who get the least amount of publicity that do the best. We have seen this many times over the years with players that have come up through the New York Yankees’ system. Let’s be honest, before the 2012 season, was anybody really monitoring David Phelps? Few people expected him to be in the role that he’s currently in with the team – and it’s a big role at that. The Yankees may have another player who could fly under the radar in Robert Refsnyder.
Throughout his college career, Refsnyder was a star player with the University of Arizona. When Arizona won the College World Series in 2012, Refsnyder was given the CWS Most Outstanding Player award, which is equivalent to the World Series MVP in pro ball. It really is a mystery that he fell all the way to the fifth round of the 2012 draft, where the Yankees selected him with the 187th pick.
It’s still way too early to say this, but they may have gotten a steal with that pick.
Right from the get-go, Refsnyder showed that he could possibly be a force to be reckoned with, as in his first year in the minor leagues with the Charleston Riverdogs, he hit .241 with four home runs, and 22 RBIs in a shortened season.
The batting average isn’t too pleasing, but getting it up is something that Refsnyder obviously worked on during his offseason. He began the year with the Riverdogs, but would only play 13 games there as his performance warranted him a promotion. In those few games, he hit .370 with no home runs and six RBIs. Since his promotion to High-A Tampa, he has shown little to no signs of slowing down. In eight games, he is hitting .344 with one home run and nine RBIs.
Refsnyder was drafted as a right fielder, but has since been playing second base in the Yankees’ system. This type of defensive flexibility could make him more valuable to the Yankees.
The scouting report on him doesn’t tell us anything overly exciting, but at the same time, it doesn’t tell us anything disappointing either. Scouts say that his bat is about average, but he does have a fair amount of pop. His defense isn’t too bad either, but he will need to learn how to play multiple positions.
One thing that I noticed that isn’t mentioned in scouting reports is that Refsnyder has some good plate discipline. So far this year, he is averaging less than one strikeout per game, and he knows how to draw a walk. In his eight games with Tampa so far, he has seven free passes. He also comes equipped with either good speed, good baserunning skills, or both. This season, with both minor league teams, he has stolen eight bases in 21 games, and he hasn’t been caught stealing.
Refsnyder still has a lot of developing to do, but he has shown all the raw potential that could possibly turn him into a solid player down the line. If he continues performing like he currently is, I would say a fair ETA in the Bronx would be around late 2015.