FanPost

Rob Refsnyder: Legitimate Prospect?

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via www.milb.com

Robert Refsnyder has burst onto the scene as a Yankees prospect in 2014. A fifth-round draft pick in 2012 out of Arizona, where he was the College World Series MVP. He was a very good hitter in college, hitting .343/.409/.503 over his three year college career.

Refsnyder put himself on the draft map with a strong Cape Cod showing in 2011, hitting .308/.406/.436 for the Wareham Gatemen. He followed that up with a strong junior year, hitting .364/.453/.562, with 34 walks to 26 strikeouts. He was an outfielder in college, and there was concern that he wouldn't have the power to play in a corner outfield spot in pro ball, and he didn't have the range to play center field. This was a large part of a bat as good as Refsnyder's reaching the fifth round.

In Refsnyder's first taste of pro ball after being drafted, he struggled with the bat while playing right field for the Charleston Riverdogs, hitting only .241/.319/.364, with a 91 wRC+. This didn't help with the concerns about the bat holding up in a corner outfield spot. The Yankees decided to convert him to second base, to help his bat play up and give him more positional value.

In 2013, his bat exploded, and he hasn't looked back since. He hit .293/.413/.413 between Charleston and Tampa, two of the toughest parks to hit in in the minor leagues. He had a 173 wRC+ in his 62 PA in Charleston, and a 140 wRC+ in his 507 PA in High-A Tampa. His conversion to second base was still a project, but his athleticism gave the transition a good chance to succeed. In 2014, the defense has continued to get better, so that now he projects to be an adequate second baseman. And his bat has taken a huge step forward: .340/.408/.551, 166 wRC+ between AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

So, how does he compare to other players at similar ages, as second basemen, with elite production? I decided to take a look. From 2006 to 2013, there have been 37 players with at least 240 AA plate appearances, and at least a 140 wRC+, at age 23 - marks that Refsnyder has matched this year. Twenty-nine of those players have made the major leagues so far, or over 78%, and two more are still playing in the minors this year at AA and AAA. Given the high failure rate of prospects, that is great news for Refsnyder's future. The average career fWAR for this group of players is 2.8, but again these are players who played in AA ball since 2006. The leader in fWAR among the group is Chase Headly, at 19.8. You can see the rest of the list below.

Table One: Double-A players, 23 years old, min 240 PA, 140 wRC+ or higher since 2006
Name Year Age PA BB% K% BB/K AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wRC+ ISO*BB/K MLB fWAR
Max Ramirez 2008 23 289 12.8% 19.4% 0.66 0.354 0.450 0.646 1.096 0.292 189 0.193 -0.1
Stefen Romero 2012 23 240 5.8% 15.4% 0.38 0.347 0.392 0.620 1.012 0.273 179 0.104 -0.8
Paul Goldschmidt 2011 23 457 17.9% 20.1% 0.89 0.306 0.435 0.626 1.061 0.320 178 0.285 13.1
Tyler Flowers 2009 23 317 18.0% 24.0% 0.75 0.302 0.445 0.548 0.993 0.246 177 0.185 1.9
Ryan Strieby 2009 23 362 15.7% 22.1% 0.71 0.303 0.427 0.565 0.991 0.262 176 0.186
Vince Belnome 2011 23 318 14.8% 18.6% 0.80 0.333 0.432 0.603 1.035 0.270 174 0.216 -0.1
George Springer 2013 23 323 13.0% 29.7% 0.44 0.297 0.399 0.579 0.978 0.282 174 0.124 1.4
Chase Headley 2007 23 522 14.2% 21.8% 0.65 0.330 0.437 0.580 1.016 0.249 171 0.162 19.8
Mike Olt 2012 23 420 14.5% 24.0% 0.60 0.288 0.398 0.579 0.977 0.291 168 0.175 -0.8
Michael Taylor 2009 23 363 9.6% 14.0% 0.69 0.333 0.408 0.569 0.977 0.236 168 0.163 -1.1
J.R. Towles 2007 23 257 8.9% 13.6% 0.66 0.324 0.425 0.551 0.976 0.227 165 0.150 0.1
Dave Sappelt 2010 23 372 8.3% 12.4% 0.67 0.361 0.416 0.548 0.964 0.188 163 0.126 0.6
Carlos Santana 2009 23 535 16.8% 15.5% 1.08 0.290 0.413 0.530 0.943 0.241 160 0.260 13.2
Derek Dietrich 2013 23 257 11.3% 23.3% 0.48 0.271 0.381 0.509 0.890 0.239 160 0.115 0.3
Casper Wells 2008 23 313 9.6% 21.1% 0.45 0.289 0.376 0.589 0.965 0.300 156 0.135 2.9
Robert Refsnyder 2014 23 244 5.7% 15.6% 0.37 0.342 0.385 0.548 0.933 0.206 156 0.076
J.D. Martinez 2011 23 370 11.4% 14.9% 0.76 0.338 0.414 0.546 0.959 0.208 155 0.158 0.9
Hunter Morris 2012 23 571 7.0% 20.5% 0.34 0.303 0.357 0.563 0.920 0.261 155 0.089
Aaron Luna 2010 23 408 15.4% 17.9% 0.86 0.270 0.426 0.470 0.897 0.201 154 0.173
Luke Hughes 2008 23 319 8.8% 21.9% 0.40 0.319 0.385 0.551 0.936 0.232 152 0.093 -0.1
Sean Ratliff 2010 23 311 7.4% 23.2% 0.32 0.317 0.371 0.562 0.933 0.246 151 0.079
Jed Lowrie 2007 23 408 15.9% 14.2% 1.12 0.297 0.410 0.501 0.911 0.205 149 0.230 9.9
John Jaso 2007 23 450 13.1% 10.9% 1.20 0.316 0.408 0.484 0.893 0.168 148 0.202 7.4
Jordan Brown 2007 23 558 11.3% 10.0% 1.13 0.333 0.421 0.484 0.906 0.151 148 0.171 -0.2
Alfredo Marte 2012 23 446 7.6% 16.1% 0.47 0.294 0.363 0.523 0.886 0.229 147 0.108 -0.5
George Kottaras 2006 23 310 16.1% 21.9% 0.74 0.276 0.394 0.451 0.845 0.175 146 0.130 3.4
Matt Laporta 2008 23 433 11.3% 17.3% 0.65 0.279 0.386 0.539 0.924 0.260 145 0.169 -1.4
Chin-lung Hu 2007 23 356 7.3% 9.3% 0.79 0.329 0.380 0.508 0.887 0.178 143 0.141 -1.0
Joe Benson 2011 23 472 11.9% 23.1% 0.51 0.285 0.388 0.495 0.883 0.210 143 0.107 -0.2
Jason Kipnis 2010 23 355 8.7% 17.2% 0.51 0.311 0.385 0.502 0.887 0.190 143 0.097 9.1
Chih-Hsien Chiang 2011 23 499 6.2% 18.2% 0.34 0.302 0.361 0.537 0.897 0.235 143 0.080
Eric Thames 2010 23 573 8.9% 21.1% 0.42 0.288 0.370 0.526 0.896 0.238 142 0.100 0.0
Alex Hassan 2011 23 545 13.9% 14.5% 0.96 0.291 0.404 0.456 0.860 0.165 141 0.158 -0.1
Jason Donald 2008 23 414 11.4% 20.8% 0.55 0.307 0.391 0.497 0.889 0.191 141 0.105 0.6
Kala Ka'Aihue 2008 23 475 18.5% 25.1% 0.74 0.274 0.417 0.457 0.874 0.184 140 0.136
Danny Dorn 2008 23 388 10.8% 21.6% 0.50 0.277 0.367 0.539 0.906 0.262 140 0.131
David Lough 2009 23 253 4.7% 11.9% 0.40 0.331 0.371 0.517 0.887 0.186 140 0.074 3.0
Brock Bond 2009 23 531 12.6% 13.0% 0.97 0.333 0.429 0.409 0.838 0.076 140 0.074

One of my favorite statistical tools to look at players is actually a combination of two - ISO (how many extra bases per at bat a player gets) and BB/K ratio (shows a hitters ability to control the strike zone). In ranking the above players by ISO*(BB/K), Refsnyder would only rank 36th. Of those in the bottom five for ISO*(BB/K), only David Lough has made the major leagues, while 87.5% of the other 32 have. But, ranked by wRC+, Refsnyder is tied for 15th with Casper Wells. Only one player above him never made the majors, Ryan Strieby.

How about second basemen in AA with at least a 140 wRC+ and 240 PA? Of those 18 players, Refnsyder would rank 9th in wRC+ - everyone higher than him has made the majors. He also would be second to last in ISO*(BB/K). This group does include second basemen of any age, inluding a 30 year old Eric Riggs. However, 83.3% of these players made the major leagues, an even higher rate than the 23 year old sub-population. You can see this group of players below.

Table Two: Double-A second basemen, min 240 PA, 140 wRC+ or higher since 2006
Name Year Age PA BB% K% BB/K AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wRC+ ISO*BB/K MLB fWAR
Stefen Romero 2012 23 240 5.8% 15.4% 0.38 0.347 0.392 0.620 1.012 0.273 179 0.104 -0.8
Vince Belnome 2011 23 318 14.8% 18.6% 0.80 0.333 0.432 0.603 1.035 0.270 174 0.216 -0.1
Marcus Semien 2013 22 483 17.4% 13.7% 1.27 0.290 0.420 0.483 0.903 0.193 167 0.245 0.1
Josh Satin 2011 26 404 14.1% 22.5% 0.63 0.325 0.423 0.538 0.962 0.213 165 0.134 1.0
Tommy La Stella 2013 24 323 11.5% 10.5% 1.09 0.343 0.422 0.473 0.896 0.131 163 0.143 0.7
Scott Sizemore 2009 24 269 13.0% 17.1% 0.76 0.307 0.402 0.535 0.937 0.228 161 0.173 1.4
Derek Dietrich 2013 23 257 11.3% 23.3% 0.48 0.271 0.381 0.509 0.890 0.239 160 0.115 0.3
Jesus Guzman 2008 24 376 8.8% 14.9% 0.59 0.364 0.419 0.560 0.979 0.196 159 0.116 2.7
Robert Refsnyder 2014 23 244 5.7% 15.6% 0.37 0.342 0.385 0.548 0.933 0.206 156 0.076
Luke Hughes 2008 23 319 8.8% 21.9% 0.40 0.319 0.385 0.551 0.936 0.232 152 0.093 -0.1
Daniel Descalso 2009 22 324 9.6% 12.7% 0.76 0.323 0.396 0.531 0.928 0.208 151 0.158 0.0
Kevin Randel 2006 25 389 12.1% 22.4% 0.54 0.280 0.376 0.483 0.859 0.203 149 0.110
Drew Sutton 2008 25 606 12.5% 16.2% 0.78 0.317 0.408 0.523 0.931 0.206 147 0.161 0.6
Eric Riggs 2007 30 343 9.6% 12.8% 0.75 0.293 0.375 0.522 0.897 0.229 145 0.172
Ryan Flaherty 2011 24 344 11.6% 16.0% 0.73 0.305 0.384 0.523 0.907 0.219 143 0.160 1.0
Jason Kipnis 2010 23 355 8.7% 17.2% 0.51 0.311 0.385 0.502 0.887 0.190 143 0.097 9.1
Edgar Gonzalez 2006 28 240 10.0% 15.4% 0.65 0.295 0.371 0.457 0.828 0.162 141 0.105 0.5
Josh Satin 2010 25 332 10.8% 21.4% 0.51 0.308 0.395 0.472 0.867 0.164 140 0.084 1.0
Brock Bond 2009 23 531 12.6% 13.0% 0.97 0.333 0.429 0.409 0.838 0.076 140 0.074

Finally, I wanted to look at second basemen, age 23 in AAA with at least 100 PA and a 100 wRC+ or higher. Now 100 plate appearances is definitely a small sample, but it is what we have to work with right now. Surprisingly, there are only 21 players between 2006 and 2013 that match this criteria. Of those, all but one of them have made the major leagues, or over 95%. That group has averaged 3 fWAR in their young career, led by Martin Prado with 17.2 fWAR. Ranked against this group, Refsnyder would be first in wRC+, and third in ISO*(BB/K), behind only Alberto Callaspo and Dustin Ackley. As a group, this is an impressive bunch, and should excite Yankees fans. What this group of players shows, is that if you can make AAA for at least 100 PA as a 23 year old second basemen, you will play in the big leagues, and have a good chance to become an above-average player. You can see the entire table below.

Table Three: 23 Year Old Second Basemen, min 100 PA in AAA since 2006
Name Year Age PA BB% K% BB/K AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wRC+ ISO*BB/K MLB fWAR
Robert Refsnyder 2014 23 104 18.3% 18.3% 1.00 0.333 0.462 0.560 1.021 0.226 188 0.226
Kyle Seager 2011 23 117 9.4% 10.3% 0.92 0.387 0.444 0.585 1.029 0.198 160 0.182 11.2
Sean Rodriguez 2008 23 289 10.0% 15.6% 0.64 0.306 0.397 0.645 1.042 0.339 159 0.217 6.2
Jedd Gyorko 2012 23 408 8.3% 16.7% 0.50 0.328 0.380 0.588 0.968 0.260 146 0.130 1.3
Cord Phelps 2010 23 273 8.8% 14.3% 0.62 0.317 0.386 0.506 0.892 0.189 142 0.117 -1.3
Willy Aybar 2006 23 234 10.3% 11.5% 0.89 0.314 0.385 0.531 0.916 0.217 141 0.193 2.8
Alberto Callaspo 2006 23 554 10.1% 4.9% 2.07 0.337 0.404 0.478 0.882 0.141 135 0.292 10.2
Corban Joseph 2012 23 386 13.7% 14.8% 0.93 0.266 0.366 0.474 0.840 0.208 134 0.193 0.0
Dustin Ackley 2011 23 331 16.6% 11.5% 1.45 0.303 0.421 0.487 0.908 0.185 130 0.268 4.9
Josh Harrison 2011 23 254 5.9% 11.0% 0.54 0.310 0.365 0.460 0.826 0.150 128 0.081 2.9
Matt Tuiasosopo 2009 23 269 13.4% 30.9% 0.43 0.261 0.368 0.473 0.842 0.212 124 0.091 -0.3
Michael Garciaparra 2006 23 162 13.6% 16.0% 0.85 0.316 0.422 0.375 0.797 0.059 124 0.050
Martin Prado 2007 23 439 7.7% 9.3% 0.83 0.316 0.374 0.421 0.795 0.105 121 0.087 17.2
Cesar Hernandez 2013 23 440 9.3% 18.4% 0.51 0.309 0.375 0.402 0.776 0.092 121 0.047 -0.8
Johnny Giavotella 2011 23 503 8.0% 11.3% 0.70 0.338 0.390 0.481 0.871 0.143 118 0.100 -1.2
Danny Espinosa 2010 23 108 7.4% 20.4% 0.36 0.295 0.349 0.463 0.812 0.168 114 0.060 6.7
Chin-lung Hu 2007 23 200 3.0% 9.0% 0.33 0.318 0.337 0.505 0.842 0.188 112 0.062 -1.0
Jimmy Paredes 2012 23 536 4.1% 18.8% 0.22 0.318 0.348 0.477 0.826 0.160 112 0.035 -1.6
Tyler Pastornicky 2013 23 320 8.4% 14.7% 0.57 0.292 0.354 0.392 0.747 0.101 111 0.058 -1.3
Blake Dewitt 2009 23 407 11.8% 10.8% 1.09 0.256 0.349 0.426 0.775 0.170 105 0.185 1.8
DJ Lemahieu 2012 23 280 8.2% 10.4% 0.79 0.314 0.368 0.396 0.764 0.082 102 0.065 2.3
Adrian Cardenas 2011 23 545 8.6% 10.3% 0.84 0.314 0.374 0.418 0.791 0.104 100 0.087 -0.3

For me, Refsnyder is probably in the 70-80 range right now, but if he continues to do what he's done through the end of the season, a spot in the top 50 is reasonable. Among Yankees prospects, he is third, behind Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez. If Sanchez doesn't turn things around, both performance and makeup-wise, I could see Refsnyder pass him by the end of the season.

So, what do you think? Is Rob Refsnyder a legitimate prospect? Where would he fit on a top 100 list for you? Where would he rank among Yankees prospects for you?

FanPosts are user-created content and do not necessarily reflect the views of the writing staff of Pinstripe Alley or SB Nation.

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