Yankees News: Jose Pirela Impresses Reggie Jackson, not Brian Cashman.


In the sixth inning of the Yankees 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, Jose Pirela ripped a line drive single to Center that was too hard for Jonathan Galvez to score from second base. This immediately reminded John Harper of the New York Daily News about what Reggie Jackson said a few days back, when he called Pirela the best hitter in the entire Yankees organization.

If those words are coming from ‘Mr. October’ himself, shouldn’t Pirela earn the full-time second base job in the Bronx to start the season?

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Especially if Stephen Drew, who hit .162 last season between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and given his slow start to this spring, where he’s batting .091, proves to be an automatic out when he steps into the batters box. You can make the argument that Stephen Drew is a gold glove caliber infielder, but Pirela has proven he’s good enough defensively to play second base.

Unfortunately for all the Pirela supporters, Brian Cashman was having none of it on Tuesday.

Though the Yankees GM is quick to praise Pirela as a “good contact hitter,” he’s not to keen on what prompted former star Reggie Jackson to make such an emphatic statement to a couple of sideline reporters in attendance for Pirela’s batting practice on Sunday.

“That’s wrong,” Cashman flat-out told Harper. “Greg Bird’s by far the best hitter [among prospects] in the organization.”

Gregory Bird, who significantly has more power than Pirela, is the Yankees first baseman of the foreseeable future. Along with Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and either Rob Refsnyder or  Pirela at second-base, all of these prospects are expected to be part of the everyday Yankees lineup in the Bronx by 2017.

According to Harper, certain members of the Yankees management brass believe Refsnyder will be a better big-league hitter than Pirela, in large-part because Refsnyder has a better plate discipline. However, Refsnyder’s defense remains to be a work in progress, which is why the Yankees decided to bring in Stephen Drew, banking on the veteran bouncing back from career lows in 2014.

“Once we brought Drew in,” Cashman said, “the roster was locked in. There’s no competition in the middle infield.”

In Refsnyder’s defense, he did have a breakthrough season in 2014, moving from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre with an impressive .305 batting average along with 21 doubles, 11 triples and 10 homers.

Pirela one-upped Refsnyder by leaving a strong impression in the Bronx as a September call-up, batting .333 in 24 plate appearances.

Both have come out ‘guns a blazin’ to start the spring. With a single and a walk on Tuesday, Pirela improved his spring training average to .462 with a .533 on-base-percentage. Refsnyder is batting .455 with a .538 on-base-percentage.

The difference between the two young prospects in versatility, as Pirela is capable of playing second, third and even in the outfield, which gives him a better chance at opening up the 2015 season in the Bronx as an infield utility-man, especially with Brendan Ryan out with a back injury.

“The baby Bombers are hustling, showing their stuff, Cashman told Harper. “The veterans are just getting their work in.”

Thus, it seems obvious that Cashman isn’t going to make any rash decisions based on anything he see’s in March, even if it goes against what ‘Mr.October’ might think.

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