Refsnyder (Refs) has had an up and down last couple of years.
Seems like a decent prospect especially when you consider 2015
In 16 games at the MLB level he slashed .30/.348/.512 and in 117 games at AAA he slashed .271/.359/.402
So the expectations of Refs were pretty high after 2015. He needed to do some work in AAA to really fine tune his defensive issues. Originally I thought this was so the Yankees could keep him under the service clock. Anyway, he started 2016 in AAA where he worked on his defense and approach at the plate. In the minors he slashed, in 54 games, .316/.365/.402 while playing bits of 2nd base and the outfield. All looking pretty good for a mid-season call-up
Things didn’t go so well up with the big club.
.250/.328/.309 was his slash #s and those are not going to cut it. He doesn’t hit for HR power but has some good line-drive and gap pop. Unfortunately this did not translate.
So he went from really good prospect to middling MLB player trying to find a position and now to trade bait. Not a great start but I’m rooting for him.
There really is no place to play him. Castro is the much better option at second-base where his defense and bat both play better than Refsnyder. In the outfield the only spot up for grabs is in RF. Judge and Hicks are battling it out currently in spring training and while Judge has looked good Hicks has not. Hicks can play all 3 outfield positions though so that gives Girardi the flexibility that he craves.
So without 2nd base or the OF where would Refs play? He has been taking some reps at 1st base but with Greg Bird showing that he is healthy and Chris Carter as both insurance and a right-handed power bat, it may be tough for Refs to get any playing time there. The only hope for Refs at first is if Carter’s propensity for strikeouts leads to a benching or a DFA. Then Refs, if he plays good defense, could fill in against lefties if Girardi wants to give Bird a rest.
What about third base? Well, Chase Headley has made that difficult for him. Headley seems to be focused on avoiding a slow start after a tough April. Even with an April slash of he finished the year with a slash of .253/.331/.385 which is pretty good for the almost 33 year old. Andujar (young third base prospect who will most likely spend all year among single A, AA, and maybe AAA) has performed well this spring, limiting the reps Refs can get at third base.
So what is the verdict?
Maybe Refs makes the opening day roster as an IF/OF depth utility player. With Hicks being the 4th OF and Torreyes acting as IF backup it will be difficult for Refsnyder to get ABs in the majors. I think this stunts his further development and starts the year in AAA. He’s almost 26 and looking to be a AAAA type player, because of his experience at AAA he excels but he can’t quite cut it in the majors. Refs may be able to up his value by starting in AAA and developing more defensively while putting up .300/.350/.425 numbers. That would be the best play for this organization, in my opinion.
The Yankees need more insurance with their starting rotation. Yes they have Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, as 1-3 but the 4 and 5 slots are all up for grabs. Severino/Green/Cessa/Mitchell are all vying for those two spots but they lack experience and innings.
Getting a 4th/5th caliber starting pitcher who can eat 180 innings may not be the value that the Yankees envisioned for Refs at the start of 2016 but that is where it is today.
Because of the Chapman/Miller trades the 2018 and especially 2019 rosters have a ton of upside. Refsnyder doesn’t have that upside and will most likely be with a different organization.
Let me hear some comments