Could Yangervis Solarte be the real deal?

Yangervis Solarte

It’s no question Yangervis Solarte had a great Spring Training; he was the one who took the backup infielder spot from Eduardo Nunez, who had an inside track on it coming into camp in February. However, ever since the actual season began, Solarte has never stopped hitting. He’s been an important piece to the Yankees since Mark Teixeira went on the disabled list, but you have to wonder if he could possibly be the real deal. He has power, he has a great glove (he started a triple play last night to further my point) and he seems to be a go-to guy in clutch situations. Regardless of the answer, everyone has been impressed with Solarte, including manager Joe Girardi.

“He’s done a lot in two weeks, hasn’t he?”  Girardi said. “I’m sure he’s probably hoping he doesn’t wake up, in a sense. The kid has been a big boost for us. Someone that found out he was making the team fairly late; not even early enough to take the plane to Houston. He has given us a big boost.”

It’s a sure thing Solarte is going to regress eventually, as every player does during a long season, but at the moment he’s one of the best hitters on the team with a .373 average and he has the most doubles. Solarte achieved his goal of getting to the Major Leagues and he’s gained a pretty big fan base in his short time with the club (myself included). But he knows his focus now is to stay in the Majors and to do his job to the best of his ability.

“All I do is work hard. Work hard, and everything is going to happen. I thank God for that,” Solarte said.  “… This is incredible for me. I don’t want to wake up. I want to keep working hard and doing what I’m doing right now.”

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5 Responses to Could Yangervis Solarte be the real deal?

  1. Solarte hit .286/.336/.397 in his career in the minors. He was never considered a prospect at any point in his career and only started hitting in the minors once he started getting older than everyone else (which is typical of non-prospects). He could end up being a very solid bench player, but asking for more than that is too much.

  2. Celerino Sanchez says:

    It's a nice ride while it lasts but his stats will certainly come down to earth and probably end up in the .250-260 ballpark.

  3. jar says:

    The next Derek Jeter.

  4. gcorcoran says:

    Here are a couple of reasons I find to be optimistic about this guy (I tend to be the voice of blind, stupid optimism).

    1. His ability to make contact is extremely refreshing. The guy doesn't strike out much if at all. He's no Brett Gardner when it comes to patience, but I don't think that's his role on this team anyway. I think he is the guy who can make things happen. A spark plug if you will. The Yankees seem to be adding a few players like that on this team, but now with Ichiro on the bench a good amount of the time it's nice to have a guy who isn't going to strike out in a big situation other than Derek Jeter.

    2. While he's not Brett Gardner, he can and will take a walk if he doesn't get a good pitch to hit. OBP is not going to be his biggest strength since he will make contact with most pitches in and around the strike zone and put the ball in play, but he seems to have the ability to walk at an average rate. Also, major league pitchers are going to continue to challenge him until he shows that he can consistently hit the ball well.

    3. The contact that he does make seems to be hard more often than not. His current BABIP numbers are clearly unsustainable, but if he continues to hit the ball close to as hard as he has, there's no reason he can't hover around a .300 average.

    4. Rob makes a good point about his career minor league numbers. He seemed to click when he became older and more experienced than the other players. That said, there is no proof that experience was the only factor. Something seemed to have clicked with him in Winter ball, and I think it's something that Yankees scouts were able to pick up on. Players can make an adjustment at any point in their career (see Jose Bautista), and that adjustment can send them on the path to success.

    5. The ability to play multiple positions well. This will allow him to stay in the majors and will increase the number of at bats he gets. The more at bats he gets the more experience he will obtain. He has proven to be the type of player who gets better with experience. That could be true in the majors too. Just because he's older doesn't mean he can't get better. In fact most players break out around the age of 27.

    6. He has already shown that he has that "it" factor. It could just be luck, but he tends to come up big in big situations for the Yankees, when they are down by a run or in a close game.

    All of this said, all failures come from high expectations and obviously we all have to temper expectations when it comes to this kid. Given his age and his route to the majors there has to be an heir of skepticism or you're setting up for major disappointment. It would be great if this kid ends up a .300 hitter in the majors, but you still have to look at that and say there's at best a 50/50 chance of that happening at this point.

  5. McCannInCT says:

    It's been fun watching Solarte the first three weeks. He's smart, he's solid. No, he's not Jeter. But if he turns into Scott Brosius, the Yankees will have uncovered a prize. Remember, 25 Scott Brosius's will win you a title. 25 A-rod's won't.