He was once the darling of many Yankees fans, a Twitter MVP if there ever was one.
Such is the case of Rob Refsnyder, a Yankees prospect whose star has fallen, his magic evaporated, his chances of being an infield stalwart for the next several years in The Bronx vanquished.
It is time for the Yankees to cut their losses and trade Refsnyder, who is a used Corvair compared to a brand-new Escalade named Gleyber Torres. There really is no room for the 25-year-old native of Seoul, South Korea. It’s time for the Yankees to get something in return – maybe a pitching prospect – and give Refsnyder a fresh chance in a fresh organization.
We were never as high on Refsnyder as some on Twitter, who were mesmerized by a 60-game performance at Trenton in 2014, in which he hit .342 (78-for-228) and earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton, finishing that season with a .318 (164-for-515) mark.
Though he still hit well – .302 (13-for-43) in 16 games with the Yankees in 2015, and .316 (66-for-209) in 54 games with Scranton, in 2016 – his OPS, a superb .933 during those 60 games in Trenton – never came all that close to that ever again. In fact, his OPS in 74 games with the Yankees, is just a mediocre .686.
Meanwhile, while given several chances, Refsnyder’s fielding never really improved to the level it needed to assume a regular middle-infield spot in a Major League lineup at second base. His arm is really not suited for an outfield spot. His only real role with the Yankees is as a bench player who can hit a bit. He is not a defensive replacement.
Yet, he likely still has value to a team that could use his bat, maybe recapture the type of plate performance that excited so many in 2014 in Arm&Hammer Park. He would be useful on a club that could hide his defensive shortcomings.
Many might feel the Yankees ought to keep a 25-year-old faded prospect, for which there is really no room in Triple-A in 2017, but there is a bit of a dark side to Refsnyder.
We saw it in Trenton during those 60 games in 2014. Yes, he was in a zone at the plate like few had previously seen, even at the Double-A level. That was one side of the coin. The other was his defense, which was not up to Eastern Leah level at that point.
Certainly Refsnyder was buoyed by his hitting – pitches must have looked like a beach ball to him during that run – but he almost seemed to resent defense, and what had to be done to improve. He had issues with learning shifts and complained about what was being executed on more than one occasion.
In all seriousness, that doesn’t play all that well in a clubhouse. It didn’t during a first call-up with the Yankees as well.
The Yankees system has changed in a big way since 2014, with numerous outstanding middle-infield candidates having been added since then. Players like Torres and Jorge Mateo certainly have more overall ability and are younger, and there are other outstanding middle-infield candidates set to play at every level in 2017.
To be fair, Refsnyder had his chances. It’s time for the Yankees to cash in their chips with him.