Yangervis Solarte was literally the last guy to make the Yankees 25-man roster out of Spring Training. In fact, he was named to the roster so late that he couldn’t even make the team flight to Houston, and ended up having to meet the team out there for the season opener. So, how has he been in his first month in the big leagues? Let’s find out.
Solarte mashed throughout all of Spring Training, which is basically why he made the team. He was originally brought in as infield depth and insurance, along with Dean Anna and Scott Sizemore, as well as to provide some stiff competition for incumbent utility infielder Eduardo Núñez. Anna made the team out of Spring Training in place of the injured Brendan Ryan (who is now back), but was sent down after a cup of coffee. Sizemore also got a few games, and played very well, but the roster crunch, and Solarte’s great play (which we’ll get into soon), cause him to get sent back down to Scranton too. Nuñez, meanwhile, is on the Twins. Solarte has officially won himself a roster spot.
Not only that, but Solarte has taken a lot of playing time away from Kelly Johnson, whom the Yankees signed to basically be their every day third baseman. Johnson hasn’t even played poorly, as he has 4 homers on in limited playing time, but Solarte is keeping everyone off the field. How has he done that? By doing just about everything right.
When the season started, Solarte kept his bat hot and surprised everyone by getting off to a ridiculous start. Through April 19th, Solarte hit .351/.431/.526 with 7 doubles and a homer, and showed some nice patience on at the plate as well. He then cooled, hitting just .185/.313/.259 with only 2 doubles and 5 RBI over his next seven games, and it looked like he was coming back down to earth a bit, and he probably was. He managed to stay patient at the plate, however, walking 5 times in those seven games. When the Yankees got to Anaheim, Solarte’s bat woke up a bit, though, as he went 5-10 with a double, a walk an RBI and 2 runs scored in the three games.
That small surge bumped his slash lines to .306/.391/.439, and he now has 10 doubles and a homer to go along with 10 runs scored and 15 RBI in 28 overall games on the season. He’s also now walked 14 times while only striking out 14 times, which means he never lost his patient approach, even while he went through his 2 week slump. The one thing we can say about Solarte so far, is that he has shown that his bat is major league ready. Is he a .300 hitter over the course of 162 games? I hesitate to go that far, but he’s definitely earned a chance to stay in the lineup to prove himself.
I’ve also been very happy with Solarte’s defense. He’s only made 2 errors thus far which, considering he’s spent most of his time a third base; a position he only played about 20% of the time during his considerably long minor league journey, is pretty darn good. He’s also played a little bit of second base (his most common minor league position) and even filled in a short a bit too, which has allowed the Yankees to properly rest guys older guys like Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts. Solarte hasn’t been spectacular in the field, but he’s made the occasional excellent play, and has overall been really solid. He even astutely started an around the horn triple play. Not bad, youngster.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the kid can do in May next.
Solarte’s First Homer:
Featured image courtesy of: Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post
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