clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jose Pirela has done nothing to grab the starting job

Even if Yankees fans are upset with Stephen Drew, the sad truth is that Jose Pirela hasn't been playing much better.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Yankee fans have grown sick and tired of the old vets eating up playing time. Stephen Drew has so far been the scapegoat of this 2015 Yankees team , and even if he is (so far) the worst hitter on this Yankee team, the young kid that's most MLB-ready–Jose Pirela–hasn't been much better.

Drew has, deservedly, gotten a lot of the blame for the Yankees' offensive struggles, slashing .158/.226/.303 in his first 169 plate appearances this season. His wRC+ is a mere 43, with a strikeout rate of 20.1% and a walk rate of 8.3%. These numbers are pretty pitiful for a veteran who makes $5 million this season. On a positive note, Drew's BABIP is .165, so there could be some room for some regression. When he takes a swing, he makes contact 83.3% of the time, which is just outside of the top 50 among qualified hitters. GM Brian Cashman has made it clear that Stephen Drew is here to stay, so who else could the Yankees turn to?

After finishing his DL-stint following a concussion, Pirela was called up to the big leagues, and he replaced the injured Gregorio Petit. Joe Girardi gave him some chances to start over Drew–Pirela has played 12 games so far this season for the Yankees and he's had 30 plate appearances. In those appearances, Pirela has slashed .200/.200/.233, with a wRC+ of 12. His strikeout rate is 23.3% (almost 3% higher than Drew) and he hasn't taken a walk yet. Drew has made 4 errors in 167 chances, while Pirela has made 2 errors in 35 chances. So, Pirela hasn't been much better than Drew, but would calling up Rob Refsnyder from Triple-A be the best decision?

Refsnyder has 188 plate appearances so far this season, slashing .253/.312/.378–numbers significantly better than Drew and Pirela. Refsnyder also has a wRC+ of 122(!), a strikeout rate of 15.4%, and a walk rate of 10.1%. Not only that, but Refsnyder also has a BABIP of .336. Refsnyder really picked up his hitting after a slow start to the season, but the main reason he was sent back to the minors was to work on his defensive issues. In 42 games, Refsnyder has committed a staggering 11 errors, easily the most on the team.

Even though the offensive numbers are great for Refsnyder, would it be beneficial to both him and the Yankees to bring him into the majors? In my opinion, and I know a lot of you don't want to hear this, but no. Refsnyder is only 24 years old. He's got a long future ahead of him. If the RailRiders are able to work out his fielding issues and he's able to immensely cut down on the errors, then I would have no problem with the team taking a look at him. At the moment, having Refsnyder up for an extended period of time might be rushing him and it may prove to be hurtful instead of helpful. Then again, the Yankees need all the middle infield help that they can get right now.

So what can the Yankees do? Cut their losses with Drew. He's not helping the team at all. Friday night, the Yankees Twitter account tweeted out that the Yankees had 2 on, 2 out in the bottom of the ninth, and that they were threatening. I believed it, until I saw it was Drew at the plate. It was "game over" from there. With him gone, start Pirela. It may have just been a rough start for him. He's an underrated prospect (he's still a kid at just 25) who has nothing left to prove in the minors. In 19 at-bats for Triple-A this season, Pirela slashed .579/.600/.947. Keeping him in the minors isn't going to help him at all. To back up Pirela, I would bring Gregorio Petit back when he's healthy. After he's recovered, I say we designate Drew for assignment, give Pirela some more starts, and have Petit there, ready to go. If all of that fails, then I would give Refsnyder his chance. As much as I am a Refsnyder fan, he just has too much to work on in the minors.

I'm pretty sure I know what you're all going to say, but what do you think the Yankees should do with Pirela, Drew, and Refsnyder?