While the New York Yankees have been able to stay within 3.5 games of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East, the lack of offensive firepower has been a concern for the Bronx Bombers. One of the players New York has relied upon this season for offense is third baseman Yangervis Solarte.
In April, Solarte was the talk of the town in New York City. The 26-year-old career minor leaguer hit .303 and had 13 RBI. Over the past two weeks, Solarte showed signs that he might be coming down to earth. However, the Twins’ series this past weekend seemed to have awakened him out of his slump. He had five hits in eleven at-bats, including a home run.
The versatile Solarte, has not only helped in the field with all the positions he’s played, mainly third base, but also with his bat. While the Bronx Bombers haven’t lived up to that nickname so far, the third baseman has been one of their only road power hitters this season. His three home runs in 25 starts on the road are second on the team, behind Mark Teixeira.
In fact, the third baseman has been one of the main run-producers for a Yankees’ squad that is 17-13 on the road this season (12-13 at home). 19 of Solarte’s 26 RBI have come away from Yankee Stadium and are four more than the second-highest Yankee, Jacoby Ellsbury.
On Friday night, Joe Girardi put Yangervis Solarte further down in the order, batting him eighth and moved Brian Roberts up into the sixth spot. It appeared that the move took some tension off of Solarte. The key for Solarte is to find ways to get on-base, considering is on-base percentage of .339 in May was lower than his April .OBP of .407.
The Yankees’ diamond-in-the rough has helped them survive so far, but can they win the AL East with the 3B leading the team in batting average? It doesn’t help him that the team as a whole has not had much success at the plate these past two weeks. That being said, when Carlos Beltran gets back into the lineup and Brian McCann starts to find his power stroke at the plate, then his expectations will go down. Solarte has been a pleasant surprise, but it makes you wonder whether or not the Yankees will need him to be more of a main contributor than a role player to this offense the rest of the way?