This upcoming season should be the season Rob Refsnyder becomes a household name for the New York Yankees. The right fielder turned second baseman should make the 2016 team as the backup at third base and utility player.
Refsnyder was called up last season and appeared in 16 games, batting .302 with two home runs and five RBIs. He even started the American League Wild Card Game last season, which showed the Yankees had faith in the 24 year-old over veteran Stephen Drew.
Now, Refsnyder is batting .250 with a home run, three RBIs and three stolen bases in Spring Training, but is also impressing at another new position. General manager Brian Cashman likes what he has seen so far by Refsnyder, who has made just one error in Spring Training. He has never played the position before, and has only played second base for three seasons, which makes his learning of the infield amazing.
The Yankees viewed Refsnyder as a second baseman out of the University of Arizona and had him learn while in the minor leagues. But now with Starlin Castro at second base, Refsnyder will either have to learn a new position to make the team or be let go by the organization, which is highly unlikely. The Yankees are big on this kid, and rightfully so.
Refsnyder has a smart baseball mind and is a hard-working ballplayer. He would be a great fit on the Yankees as a bench/utility player. Not an ideal spot for him, but he may be the best option as the Yankees look to make it further than last season.
By keeping Refsnyder on the team, it allows the Yankees a chance to rest third baseman Chase Headley, shortstop Didi Gregorious and Castro. Plus, Refsnyder does know the outfield, allowing them an option if Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner or Aaron Hicks were to get hurt. He is the most versatile player on the team, and that is necessary with the team’s old age and injury past. The youth and athleticism of Refsnyder could be a difference maker for a team that seemed to slow down at the end of last season.
The Yankees will likely take 13 position players, consisting of nine starters, infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley, Hicks and a backup catcher, leaving just one spot left. Refsnyder would make the most sense, but the Yankees may elect for he veteran Pete Kozma, who can play third base, second base and shortstop and send Refsnyder down to play everyday.
Kozma spent five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played every infield position along with left field. He has struggled this spring, batting .100 with just one hit, allowing Refsnyder to pick up ground.
Either way, the Yankees will have more versatility this season than in years past, hopefully it is with Refsnyder. He may not be the next Derek Jeter, but he would be a lot more fun to watch than Kozma.