If you’re like me and pay attention to what the Yankees have down on the farm, then you may have noticed a new name enter the organizations top 10 rankings, second baseman Nick Solak.
Whether or not you believe Starlin Castro is the Yankees long-term solution at second base or that top overall prospect Gleyber Torres is destined to man the position, you ought to get familiar with 2016 second round draft pick, Nick Solak.
A three-year starter at ACC powerhouse Louisville, where he played a number of positions including the outfield, Solak has advanced rapidly through the Yanks’ system, as a .303/.396/.467 slash line, 10 home runs, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases have earned the 22-year-old Woodbridge, IL native a promotion to Double-A Trenton.
In just five Eastern League games, Solak is hitting .350 with one long ball and two doubles.
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"“Solak just barrels up a ball really well,” Mitchell said. “He hit a homer on a fastball that he just crushed to left field the other day. Then, the next at-bat, he hits a ball down the right field line, on a line, that I am sure the ball was away. He just barreled it up and went with it.“He has got that knack that is hard to teach sometimes. It really is. He obviously sees the ball really well, barreling up the ball consistently.”"
Although he’s known as a traditional contact hitter — able to drive the ball to all fields with regularity, the gritty 5-foot-11, 175-pound “athlete” has proved scouts wrong who said he would never hit for very much power.
Though Solak still has a ways to go in his professional development, especially on the defensive end, where those same scouts say his hands are too hard to ever play middle infield at the big league level, Solak continues to ignore the critics — earning himself a 2016 Baseball America Short-Season All-Star selection in the NY Penn League.
While at Staten Island, Solak laced an impressive 13 doubles, three home runs — drove in 25 runs, walked 30 times and stole eight bases in 64 games.
Depending on how future Yankees super-utility man Tyler Wade finishes up this season — and by that, I mean he needs to begin putting the bat on the ball to avoid a demotion, it’s entirely possible Solak opens up the 2018 season at Triple-A Scranton.
"“From a developmental standpoint, three years at college had me on the field every day, working to get better. It is the same thing in an organization like this. They are very focused on development of the player. Every day before the game, you get your work in, to get better as a player.”"
Go ahead, doubt him. Doing so just might motivate Solak to continue reaching heights no one expects. Well, except for him and I.