What can we take away from Yangervis Solarte's first week?

Tom Szczerbowski

He looked great in spring training and he's looked great so far this season, but what can we expect going forward?

It's been a fine week for Yangervis Solarte. After having a wondrous spring and playing well right down to the crunch of roster definition, Solarte has played his way on to the starting lineup and is now a bona fide utility man. It couldn't come at a better time--with Mark Teixeira out for the foreseeable future, he can act as an every day third/second baseman until he returns. This has also been a great victory for the Yankees' front office (so far). Going into a season where they had an aging Derek Jeter, no Alex Rodriguez, and a Mark Teixeira who too is showing his age, the Yankees have managed to find a player who not only can act as a competent utility player, but is also dirt cheap. I've clamored, as well as many other Yankee fans, for the signing of Stephen Drew. The Yankees went on a massive shopping spree this winter but seemingly left the infield to fend for itself. But instead of paying a multi-year contract for Drew which would go at market rate, the Yankees picked up Solarte who is not only cheap, but at this moment has the same fWAR ZiPS projection at 1.5. For all of us that have been pulling for Solarte all spring, this has been a fun week. But what about the many weeks to come?

A long, long time ago (in April of last year), Vernon Wells was a starting outfielder for the New York Yankees. And in that month of April, he hit .300/.366/.544 (148 wRC+) with six home runs and four doubles. We all know how that ended. Granted, I don't think Solarte is a Vernon Wells--he has age on his side at 26 and all projection systems point to Solarte being a much better player; Vernon Wells was just clearly defying them. But nonetheless, the God of Regression smites all who are defiant, and Solarte is no exception. Through his 23 PA, he's hit .450/.522/.650 (234 wRC+) and has already accumulated 0.5 fWAR in just six games. The key to this, though, is that his BABIP is at an extremely high mark of .474. I'm clearly looking at a microscopic sample, and it's obviously due to regress. How much? Given his career BABIP in the minors that hovered around .290, I would expect something similar in the future. The projection systems agree, and both ZiPS and Steamer believe he'll fall between .280 and .297. That isn't too bad, considering that would make his total batting line fall at or about 100 wRC+ (plus or minus 10 points). His defense will also fall at or slightly above league average, which again is encouraging considering where we were with utility players last year.

Overall, this week has been encouraging. Instead of being stubborn and holding on to organizational depth that just wasn't working (Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix), the Yankees trusted their minor league scouting and scooped up some players like Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte, players whose combined values would probably fetch ~$20 million given the marginal cost of a win on the free agent market. Solarte is a breath of fresh air, especially coming off a 2013 where no backup alternative in the system could cut it. We should definitely temper our expectations with Solarte--he's no second coming of Derek Jeter--but we should appreciate that he is providing a service that no one on the Yankees could provide just a year ago.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker