For those of you not yet familiar with Yangervis Solarte yet, he is a 26 year old who has crushed the ball this Spring Training. Yet, he is a career minor leaguer who has never surpassed Triple A.
Solarte was signed by the Minnesota Twins as an 18 year old infielder back in 2006 out of Venezuela. After four seasons of struggling in the field (at second base, shortstop, third base, and left field) and modest batting statistics (only six career minor league home runs to that point), it looked like he would be a career fledgling player never to surface above High A ball.
Suddenly, in 2010, he began to hit. He smacked for a .320 batting average in 45 games in High A Fort Myers, and earned a call-up to Double A New Britain. The next season, at age 23, he lit up New Britain with 151 hits, 36 doubles and a .329 average.
The Twins, presumably, should have taken notice. However, they let Solarte walk, and the Texas Rangers swooped in and snatched him up. Immediately starting him in Triple A Round Rock, Solarte made a solid impact in 2012, reaching a career high in homers (11), RBI (54), and walks (44) to complement a .288 average and a total of 44 strikeouts in 568 plate appearances. Plus, Solarte committed only 11 errors at second base.
Unfortunately, there were roadblocks ahead, who went by the names of Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar. After an even better 2013 campaign with more power (75 RBI), the Rangers decided not to keep Solarte. despite trading Kinsler for Prince Fielder.
The Yankees signed the Venezuelan to a contract this offseason, and has proven a wise investment so far. If he can keep up his ridiculous Spring Training pace (which he can’t possibly), then maybe he will earn a roster spot.
Even Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig failed to earn an Opening Day spot last season when he hit .517 last March. Even if Solarte doesn’t make the initial roster, the arduous path he has taken to reach the Big Leagues shows much perseverance, dedication, and heart, all valuable aspects for a future MLB ballplayer.