This winter the New York Yankees went out and acquired Starlin Castro to play second base for them. What does that mean for their top prospect at the position Rob Refsnyder?
Refsnyder has shown last year that his bat is major league ready, hitting .302 with 2 homers in 16 games in the big leagues and .271 with 39 extra-base hits in 117 Triple-A games. But his defense is still a work in progress, as evidenced by his 19 errors combined between the two levels he played at in 2015.
Aside from the everyday second baseman, the Yankees also envision Castro as the backup at third base to Chase Headley, a position he hasn’t played since 2008.
That said, it’s unclear if Castro can handle the hot corner, leaving the position a question mark. So it’s been suggested that Refsnyder could give third base a try to increase his versatility.
Refsnyder actually said that he was open to it, but is it a good idea?
“I’m not sure, I’m up for anything, to be honest. Just a couple of years ago, I was playing right field. I’m up for anything, so we’ll see how it goes.’’ – Rob Refsnyder
He was a right fielder in college, which is why his defense at second is still a work in progress. I believe that all he needs is more repetitions to become an average defender, as he’s athletic enough to handle the position switch.
But third base is another story. Besides the fact that his arm strength is seen as average, I don’t think that adding an other position to work on would be a good thing for him. He should focus on second where he made progress defensively and his bat will play up well.
We must not forget that there is still a bench spot open if we assume Castro can handle third. The Yankees said they would like to use this spot as a revolving door, kind of like the last bullpen spot was used last year. That leaves an opportunity for them to give their second base prospect major league at bats, mostly against left-handers when Castro will be playing shortstop.
If he can’t make the most of his opportunities this year or he isn’t given one, there is also always the possibility of the Yankees trading him. The A’s asked for him and Adam Warren last year in a trade for Ben Zobrist. The Bombers refused the offer, but it proves that Refsnyder has trade value.
If Castro rebounds from his struggles and can be a solid regular I believe that a trade could be the best option for both the Yankees and Refsnyder. He might not be the center piece of trade, but he could be a nice secondary one for the young pitcher New York wants so much. As for Rob, with Castro and Gregorius up the middle and plenty of young middle infielders coming through the minor leagues, the best opportunity for a big league job might be elsewhere.