I’ll make this as simple as I possibly can: Rob Refsnyder needs to play every day. There’s just something about this kid that sparks the offense and we all know the Yankees desperately need that. This season has been abysmal for an offense that was second in runs scored last season and seemingly got even better in the offseason. However 2016 has been a nightmare for many players such as Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez among others. Coming into the game tonight, the offense had mustered just five runs in the last four games.
Tonight they scored five in nine innings – actually two innings – and you can thank one man for the offensive outburst. His name is Rob Refsnyder. The night didn’t start out promising as the Yankees were held hitless for five innings and it looked like it was going to be just another one of those nights. Then Refsnyder stepped to the plate in the top of the sixth and ripped a leadoff double to left center. He would later come around to score on a sac fly and tie the game.
In the seventh, ARod and Chase Headley led the inning off with a pair of singles. After Austin Romine failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt, Refsnyder stepped to the plate again and ripped a ribbie single to left to give the Yankees a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury followed suit with RBI hits and the offense was alive and cooking. Five runs and eight hits for a team that can’t buy any right now is huge.
The headline of the game will be Michael Pineda, and deservedly so. Pineda was terrific going 5.2 innings, giving up one run and striking out eight. Coming into the game with a 6.92 ERA, his job was on the line and he answered the call in a big way. However, Pineda’s start would’ve been for naught if it wasn’t for the bat of Rob Refsnyder. The 25-year-old is a natural hitter and needs to be in the lineup every day. He’s 4-10 this year with three doubles and three RBI. He’s over .300 in his limited career. The kid can flat out hit.
Here’s the one problem… where exactly does he play? It’s great to say Refsnyder needs to be in the lineup every day but he needs to have a position. An easy answer would be to DH him, which would be perfect if it wasn’t for ARod and Carlos Beltran taking up all those at bats. Seeing as he has to play the field and he has a below-average glove, there’s no obvious answer.
My suggestion is to use him like a Brock Holt or a Ben Zobrist. Play him in right field on days Beltran DHs for ARod. Left field on days Gardner rests against lefties. Second base (with Castro at short) when Didi gets a day off against a lefty. Third base when Headley needs a day. First base when Tex is off, or even to just bench him if he doesn’t start hitting similar to Gardner. It’s not ideal because he’s not a proven defender at really any position, but his bat is simply too potent right now not to play. With the offense mired in a season-long slump, you have to put him in the lineup. It’s worth it to take a slight hit on defense for a much needed infusion of offense. Plus, you can always take him out late in the game for defense like they did tonight.
That being said, HOLY DEFENSE DIDI GREGORIUS!! Didi saved the game with his defense tonight. That throw home to end the eighth and the double play turned with Starlin Castro in the ninth were things of beauty.
Joe, play Refsnyder. Every day. That is all.