Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Posted by Alphonso at 11:43 AM
It did look, until yesterday, that he might fool the world and become a key rookie for the Yankees. I was even thinking, " position rookie of the year " ( or not ).
What we saw in yesterday's game, was Solarte's inability to adjust as a hitter. The league initially felt they could just sit him down with fastballs. That proved a fallacy. But the league now knows it will be the "devil" breaking ball that does him in.
It is the same problem yours truly had as an up 'n comer back in the day. I couldn't hit the breaking ball, and I couldn't adjust. It is the same problem we all had, right? Otherwise, we would all be talking about our days in the big leagues.
I have to ask; is Solarte learning pitch selection from Ichiro? And by that I mean; "walks don't exist" and there is "no such thing as taking a pitch." He was swinging wildly at everything that was offered. In the dirt or over his head; it did not matter. The difference, of course, is that Ichiro does hit the ball almost everytime.
Haven't we seen this problem before with a hitter who never, ever takes a walk?
Clearly, Solarte looks better from the left side of the plate than the right, and his respective averages show that. But I doubt that the Yankees would trust him now to hit only from the left side. Although, if his right side average gets into the single digits, they can't do any worse by converting him to a full time lefty hitter.
The traditional thing to say now, for the non negative optimists in the Nu-JU environment, is that he "still fielded exceptionally well" ( even when he nearly got Tex killed on the bunt throw out at first). That steady defense is a good sign, right, even when a batter draws the "golden sombrero" on a night when everyone else was killing the Boston pitching?
I really hope this kid has it in him to overcome, be cool, develop a batting eye, improve his selectivity and score some hits. But his offense decline has happened like a fall off a cliff, and some of his strikeouts last night looked, well, amateurish. Like a young player clearly over-matched.
Think we'll see Kelly Johnson at third tonight?
I hope not. But it isn't far away.