At this time of the season, it’s a good idea for those of you in deep leagues to have a couple of second-half sleepers on your roster. Seeing as I cover the second-base beat here at Rotographs, I’ve identified a promising youngster with the potential for significant playing time at the keystone going forward.
One of the crucial aspects of identifying these players is finding holes on major-league rosters. So, seeing as we’re talking about second base, let’s discuss the Yankees. The days when Stephen Drew seemed like a legitimate major-league baseball player seem like ages ago, as the hapless second-sacker has followed up last year’s hilariously inept .162/.237/.299 season with a not-much-better .178/.239/.372. At least he’s hitting some homers, but that still hasn’t been enough to make him even a replacement-level player.
Actually, once the word gets out among pitchers that they just shouldn’t throw Drew fastballs ever, it could get even worse. Check out how incompetent he’s been against breaking and offspeed offerings this year:
“Lacks impact tools; he’s an early-count contact hitter with below average power that can’t play shortstop and is just okay at second base.”
Inspiring. On the other hand, Rob Refsnyder has followed up his highly impressive 2014 — split between Double-A and Triple-A — with another strong campaign this year in Triple-A:
- 2014 (577 PA) – .318/.387/.497, 9.5% BB, 18.2% K, 14 HR, 9 SB
- 2015 (256 PA) – .284/.362/.409, 10.2% BB, 13.7% K, 5 HR, 6 SB
One very promising sign in his 2015 data is the big leap he’s made with his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Refsnyder has near-elite on-base skills, with a career .384 on-base percentage through 370 games in the minors. Another positive indicator is that he’s been caught stealing only one time in seven tries this year, after going just 9-for-18 on stolen-base attempts last year.
Refsnyder isn’t the defender Drew is, but at this point in their careers, Refsnyder offers much more with the bat. He’s been on fire lately, showcasing his quick, compact swing. Take a look at this homer he hit on Friday, yanking a hanging breaking ball out of the park…
…and here he is the very next night, jumping all over a fastball:
Refsnyder hits for average, possesses excellent plate discipline, and has the potential to produce double-digit homers and steals. He is not currently on the 40-man, but the Yanks conveniently have an open spot, with just 39 players.
I can’t imagine it’ll take the Yankees too much longer to pull the plug on the thoroughly washed-up Drew, especially since they’re tied for the lead in the AL East. Refsnyder certainly seems ready, and it sure wouldn’t take much for him to outperform Drew. Fantasy owners in AL-only leagues are advised to go ahead and stash him now, if at all possible.
Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.