Yankees' minor league second baseman Rob Refsnyder. Mandatory Credit: MiLB.com

Thunder's Refsnyder Wins EL Player of the Week

The Trenton Thunder keep bringing in the awards. A week after Jeremy Bleich took home the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Award, the Thunder’s official site reports that second baseman Rob Refsnyder wins the EL Player of the Week Award. It is the fourth Thunder player to win the award this season.

Rob Refsnyder was drafted in the fifth round (187th overall) of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Arizona. He was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player for the National Champion Wildcats. The only problem was he did it as a right fielder and the Yankees drafted him to be a second baseman.

Refsnyder had a decent rookie campaign at Charleston and quickly worked his way up to Tampa in 2013. It was a mixed bag as Refsnyder excelled with the bat but showed the growing pains in the field as he continued to transition from outfielder to second baseman. The now 23-year-old Refsnyder entered 2014 as the Yankees 29th rated prospect according to Baseball America. He is working his way up the prospect ladder quicker than expected.

He has come alive for the Thunder at the end of May and is heading into June amid a seven-game hitting streak and ten out of his last eleven games. On top of that, nine of those eleven games have been multi-hit games. He is batting .475 (19-for-40) over his last ten games with 12, TWELVE, extra base hits. That is being in the zone. He batted .500 last week alone with an extra base hit in every game. It will be hard to improve on his on base percentage from last season at Tampa when he walked more times (78) than he struck out (70) en route to a .408 OBP. OBP aside, Refsnyder is on pace to crush everyone of his career highs as his current stat line is out of this world: .320 batting average, 32 runs scored, 16 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs, and 25 RBI while getting on base at a very respectable .367 OBP.

Refsnyder’s biggest hurdle may not be conquering his defense, but the red hot Jose Pirela, who has taken home Batter of the Week in International League. Pirela is currently manning second base at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, is 24-years young, and less of a liability with the glove. After going 5-for-6 on Sunday, Pirela is now batting .316 on the season with three home runs, 19 RBI, and 34 runs scored. Refsnyder also has to worry about Scott Sizemore who is working his way back from two years worth of injuries. If Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson continue to struggle, Pirela or Sizemore are sure to get the call. That would merit Refsnyder a promotion to Triple-A. Should he succeed with the RailRiders, we may very well be looking at the 2015 or 2016 Yankees’ starting second baseman.

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Tags: Eastern League New York Yankees Rob Refsnyder

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