I got a chance to interview Joe Girardi this morning a bit at Yankee Stadium. It wasn’t a one-on-one, but a group setting with Mets manager Terry Collins there and a gaggle of Mets bloggers as well so I didn’t get to go in depth with Girardi, but I did get to ask him a few questions.
One player I asked about was 27-year-old Cuban prospect, Ronnier Mustelier.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mustelier, he is a Cuban defector signed with the Yankees last year and has done nothing but hit since then. At 27, he’s a little old to be a prospect, but Alfredo Aceves once fell into that boat and he’s carved out a nice career for himself.
Hi 36 games last season he hit .356/.397/.527/.925 in rookie ball and High-A. This season he has done just as well in Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .335/.378/.543/.922 in 57 games.
So I asked Girardi what he thought about him.
“When we signed Ronnie, we weren’t sure what he was gonna be,” Girardi told BBD. “Then he hit in rookie ball, he hit in the fall league, he hit in Double-A, hit in Triple-A and he played a couple of positions, second and third base, too. What has really impressed me about him has been his bat speed. In spring training he had no problem turning around 96 or 97 mph fastballs.”
Does that mean we could see him in the Bronx anytime soon?
“I’ve brought his name up in conversations a few times so it’s certainly a possibility. He’s someone we’re keeping an eye on.”
That’s not exactly a ‘we’re bringing him up soon’ type of statement, but it does give us an indication that the Yankees have him in mind. My guess is that he’s probably on the short list at this point for a call-up if there is an injury, say to Eric Chavez, or that he may be one of the first ones called up in September.
For those of you who think Mustelier deserves a shot to be called up now it might not immediately appease your appetite, but it is a good indication that he won’t be banished to the minors forever.