Mustelier Muscling Through the Minors

Mustelier doesn't mind playing mutliple positions

Ronnier Mustelier has cruised through the minor leagues. Since signing with the New York Yankees on July 7, 2011, Mustelier has ascended from the Gulf Coast League to now Triple-A.

In 25 games at Double-A Trenton this season, the 27-year-old hit .353 [36-102 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. His dominance at the plate warranted his recent promotion to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In only ten games played thus far, his hot bat has not cooled. Mustelier has hit one home run with four RBIs while posting a .282 (11-39) average.

Opposing pitchers should worry when Mustelier steps into the batters box.

"I want to get on base and steal bases," Mustelier said through the help of a translator. "I want to be an average hitter, do base running and hit with power.

Mustelier's passion for the game is evident. He is the latest player from Cuba to defect in attempt of reaching the big leagues.

"I've played baseball all my life," he said. "It's what I have been doing and I enjoy it."

Headed into his first spring training and full season with the New York Yankees organization, Mustelier cleared his mind and prepared himself step-by-step for what to anticipate this year. One of those goals was to be ready to make it to the majors. He enjoyed his Spring Training and believes the lessons he learned will spring board him into success this season.

"I want to get better everyday," he said. "I take what I learned from Spring Training and from each game into the next game. That's why I got good numbers."

His excellent numbers have received him attention. Mustelier was named Eastern League Player of the Week on May 7 despite having been promoted to Triple-A a few days earlier. In four games that week, Mustelier slugged four home runs and eight RBIs while posting a .438 (7-16) average.

Mustelier was not surprised by his promotion from Trenton to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"All I want to do is play baseball. I want to get better every day. It doesn't matter if it's late or early, I just want to get to the majors."

Although his offensive statistics are excellent, Mustelier has noticed a distinct difference between Double-A and Triple-A.

"[The pitchers] have more game experience here. They don't make as much mistakes with their pitches."

In his first game with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 5, Mustelier did not disappoint. He collected two singles on five at-bats and scored on an RBI double by Francisco Cervelli.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitting coach Butch Wynegar has been impressed with Mustelier's production thus far.

"He uses the whole field good," Wynegar said. "He has a short compact swing. He is an aggressive hitter yet is under control and swings at good pitches.

"[Mustelier] is older and did a good job at Double-A and now we want to see his adjustment to Triple-A. So far he is a good hitter."

Besides Mustelier's offensive prowess, he has shown versatility on defense. He has played multiple positions in the infield and outfield throughout his brief minor league career. Mustelier has lined up at both second base and third base, as well as centerfield for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He predominately manned the hot corner at Trenton and played a number of games in left field for Tampa.

"I feel most comfortable at third [base] but whatever they want me to play I will," Mustelier said. "I don't have a problem with playing different positions."

Much like the rest of his teammates, Mustelier is waiting for the call and opportunity to join the New York Yankees roster.

"I want it as well but if not yet than I must keep working on it," he concluded.

How long Mustelier stays at Triple-A is anyone's guess. It only took him 61 games to get to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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