Rob Refsnyder is aware that he is the buzz around the New York Yankees farm system. He’s gaining the fans attention as well as the Yankees brass more than any other prospect this season. Many are excited about his production this year and believe he will be the second baseman for the Bombers next year. Refsnyder, who was born in South Korea and adopted by a Californian couple at three months old, has shown his calm demeanor on and off the field despite the swirling rumors predicting his Yankees debut.
“I’m just happy I’m in Triple-A helping this team out,” Refsnyder said after the second game of a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders doubleheader was rained out. “It’s flattering but it’s not a distraction. I’m just happy to be playing pretty good baseball right now.”
With his rapid emergence due to his productive and patient approach at the plate, it has caused a scenario that is forcing the Yankees to consider him an option for right field. The need for offense in right field is so apparent, that the Yankees have sent word to Triple-A for him to play in the outfield in case of a call to the Bronx. Refsnyder hasn’t roamed an outfield since Low-A Charleston after being drafted out of the University of Arizona where he was the College World Series MVP in 2012. “I’m excited, it’s going to be fun,” he said on the recent news of his position change.
However, there is question if the sudden transition back to the outfield will hinder the progress he has made at second base where his bat projects better than corner outfield. In Triple-A, he has been the primary second baseman since his promotion on June 10. In 26 games at the position, he hasn’t made an error. “I definitely feel comfortable there. It’s a lot of work, a lot of ground balls but I’m proud of where I am right now,” he said on his defensive progress at second.
There is no question about his offensive prowess. In the lower ranks of the system, the numbers didn’t stand out. This season has been a different story. Hitting to the tune of .342 with six homers and 30 RBI in Double-A Trenton yielded the promotion to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He credited Thunder Hitting Coach Marcus Thames with his increase in production at the plate. “I worked on a lot of mechanical stuff with Marcus adjusting my stance and swing.”
With a slow start in Triple-A where he hit just .209 (9-for-43) in his first ten games, he picked up the pace providing a spark to the offense. With a triple slash line .364/.494/.606 in the month of June, he soon became a formidable hitter in the International League. “I just try to keep it simple and look for a good pitch to drive,” he said on his approach at the plate. “I usually don’t try to swing at something until I can drive it and do something with it.”
As of right now, Refsnyder has figured it out and has put it all together. The Yankees see him as a second baseman but if he can provide an upgrade over the aging Ichiro or the injury-laden Carlos Beltran, he may see action in pinstripes as a right fielder. His time is imminent for the call to New York but when that may be is uncertain. Yet, Refsnyder isn’t letting the speculation take over. “I’ll let it speak for itself. It’s nice but it’s all kind of hearsay,” he said.