Refsnyder Looks To Break Out

Refsnyder is moving to second base at Instructs

After joining the Charleston RiverDogs for their last 46 games, Rob Refsnyder ended his first half of a professional season with a .241 average and four home runs. His numbers thus far fall short in comparison to his .364 average this past year at the University of Arizona, but, in this case, the numbers may be misleading.

"I think Rob's doing a good job. His numbers don't look all that great but he's put together some quality at-bats while he's been here and the numbers aren't really indicative of how well he's played," Charleston batting coach Greg Colbrunn said.

Refsnyder admits the transition from college to professional baseball was challenging at first. As one of the more feared hitters in college baseball, he saw more offspeed pitches than he did in his time in Charleston.

"It's tough with stats because they don't show everything, but honestly the first month or so my swing was really long, a real college approach," Refsnyder said. "In college I saw a lot of offspeed pitches so my approach was kind of geared towards off speed pitches.

"In pro ball every pitcher tries to challenge you with the fastball. It took me a while to adjust and shorten my swing, but the last month I've felt a lot better swinging the bat. It's been a really good experience because it shows what I need to work on in the offseason."

Offensively, Refsnyder now knows the adjustments he needs to make during the offseason. However, defensively is a different story. Next season, the Yankees plan to move him from the outfield to second base, a position that he has had little experience playing.

"I haven't played infield in a couple years so I'm sure I'll have a lot of one-on-one instruction; learning to play infield, communication, what it takes to be a good infielder," Refsnyder said.

"I talked to Cito [Culver], who is a really good defender, so he's been good to learn from. I want to build off this last month and take it into Instructs and hopefully into Spring Training and we'll see where I end up.

"I think it's going to be rough at first because I've been around a lot of good infielders and I know how hard they work. They take so many ground balls, so I'll be taking hundreds everyday and I'll have tons of instruction from guys who have experience."

While Refsnyder has some apprehension towards his new position, his coaches are confident that he can make a smooth transition.

"Hopefully it'll be great," Colbrunn said. "He's a very good athlete out there, very athletic body. He moves around out in the outfield really well, so hopefully it shouldn't be too much trouble moving over to second base."

"I think he's going to be fine," RiverDogs manager Carlos Mendoza added. "He's very athletic and has quick feet. I think it's a good move and we'll see how it goes."

It is unusual for a player to be drafted out of college and begin his career immediately in low-A ball as Refsnyder did. In only a short time, Refsnyder as gained valuable experience that can benefit him next season.

"The biggest thing that he's learned is what it takes to be a professional player and getting ready to play everyday," Mendoza said. "He doesn't get too many breaks.

"You have to get up at 9 [o'clock] the next day and forget about it, and that's what he's doing. He's making good adjustments and making progress."

"It's an everyday thing," Colbrunn added. "You're playing seven games a week as opposed to just three or four. It's a long season. The transition from college to pro has given him a lot of experience."

This experience has given Refsnyder confidence entering the offseason.

"I feel pretty confident right now with my approach and with things going forward. I'm really looking forward to having a breakout second professional season," Refsnyder said.

"I have high expectations for myself. I'm sure there will be some rough times in the infield, but the Yankees said they would be patient with me so I'm looking forward to it."

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