Sunday, April 17, 2016
Disillusioned and learning another new position, Rob Refsnyder is a miner trapped forever in Scranton
Posted by el duque at 10:27 AM
Self-abuse, I guess. Three weeks ago, the guy turned 25, which, for a prospect, is paleolithic. He is starting Year III in Scranton. (That's why they call it Triple A?) By now, he probably walks into diners and calls the waitresses by name. He could run for office. He can become a land baron, a Scrantonian bigwig.
Refsnyder has now played more than 200 games for Scranton. And you can see it.
In 2014, he hit .300 and was named a Baseball America Triple A All-Star at 2B. He played 77 games that year - not a small sample size. The Yankees' reaction? Over the winter, they signed Stephen Drew, a veteran SS who had hit .162 that year, and installed him as their second-baseman.
There is no charitable way to describe Drew's play last year. Let's just say he got hot at the end and finished at .201. Meanwhile, Refsnyder played 117 games for Scranton, concentrating on playing 2B. His average dropped to .271. He didn't make any All-Star team.
This year, he's hitting .242. It's only 33 at bats, but there's another factor here: He's now trying to learn 3B, and it won't happen overnight.
He's played five games at 3B, made two errors. It's good to have a guy learn extra positions, but what's the point? The Yankees have Chase Headley for three more years, even though he is already looking like a Jenny Craig version of Pablo Sandoval. He's like one of Bernie Sanders banking targets - too big to fail. They will play Headley until his average falls below .210 or his throws to first start harming celebrities in the right field boxes. (Remember Knobby hitting Keith Olbermann's mom?)
At 2B, we now have Starlin Castro - age 26. It's too early to lock him into the slot, although Brian Cashman has already taken numerous victory laps, showered with praise from fair and impartial, brown-nosed arbiters of the YES Network - the Yankee version of Fox News. In their minds, Cashman has pulled off the steal of the century.
Nobody wants to hear about Rob Refnyder. So why, why, why am I bothering?
Listen: I don't know more than the Yankee scouts and coaches. If they say Refsnyder isn't ready, he probably isn't ready. Maybe the guy has some fatal flaw in his DNA - I dunno. I can't sit here and condemn the baseball professionals who devote their lives to finding and developing talent. OK? I get it.
But one of the great frustrations of rooting passionately for the Yankees - as opposed to other teams - is almost never getting to experience the joy of a young, emerging no-name player - the kid who comes out of nowhere to surprise us. Remember watching Bernie Williams evolve from a wisp into a star centerfielder? Wasn't it nice watching Brett Gardner make the all-star team last year, silencing all those early critics who said he was merely a pinch runner?
Even if they don't always become stars, the Greg Birds and Slade Heathcotts are so much more exciting than another Brian Roberts or Stephen Drew.
But the Yankees don't give us them. They buy boring old players - who are not real Yankees - and they field a boring old team, that is not the Yankees either. (Years from now, will Headley, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann be remembered as Yankees? I doubt it.)
I yearn for rookies.If we're going to suck, if all we can do is chase the Wild Card, can't we at least give some of our kids a shot?
Or - better - trade Refsnyder. He'll be a fine MLB secondbaseman someday. And he will make us pay.