Yangervis Solarte has been an amazing story this season. A non-roster invitee, who quite literally hit his way through spring training. After eight seasons in the minors without so much as a cup of coffee or September call-up to the majors, Solarte made the team out of spring training.
Then Solarte was able to hit his way into the starting lineup. He became the everyday third baseman for the Bombers. At the apex of this amazing story, Solarte was hitting. 336 and leading the American League in hitting as recently as May 14. A shortstop for much of his time in the minor leagues, he was able to usurp Kelly Johnson and become the regular third baseman in the wake of Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension. He was driving in runs and getting on a base at a phenomenal rate.
It has been been a steady decline from that high water mark. In the month of June, however, the bottom has fallen out. Solarte is hitting .160 this month. exacerbated by his current 0-for-28 swoon. Looking at his body language in Sunday’s game you can see that his confidence is shattered. The hitless streak is in his head, and as he wonders if he will ever get another hit, Yankee fans wonder if the Solarate Express has come to it’s last stop.
Players don’t spend the better part of a decade in the minors without a taste of The Show for no reason. Generally, it is because they simply are not good enough to play at the highest level. Solarte may not be the exception Yankee fans hoped he was. The Yankees actually had not one, but two career minor leaguers break camp with the team at the end of spring training, Solarte and Dean Anna. Anna has been back in Scranton for nearly two months now and Solarte may be joining him soon.
Solarte’s journey to the big leagues is the stuff of fantasy. It is a terrific story. It inspires hope in thousands of players in this country (and other countries) for young players assuring them that if they work hard and never quit, they will be rewarded. However, that story may be ending. Or perhaps we are simply concluding Act III, and our hero is about to beat the odds to overcome adversity and emerge victorious. Time will tell whether the sun is setting on the Solarte story for good, or if this is just the darkness before the dawn.