Scouting Yankees Prospect #50: Rob Refsnyder

Refsnyder is ready for the hard work at second

The New York Yankees selected outfielder Rob Refsnyder in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Arizona. This year's College World Series MVP, he was one of the first position prospects for the Yankees in a long time to skip the short-season leagues entirely and begin his professional career at the low-A level.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Rob Refsnyder
Position: Second Base/Outfield
DOB: March 26, 1991
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"When then sent me to Charleston it really was an awesome feeling," Refsnyder said. "I think it was more out of need though because Tyler [Austin], Mason [Williams], and Gary [Sanchez], our stud prospects, moved up.

"I think it might have been different if those guys weren't studs but it was a blessing. Yeah I was surprised and not putting up the numbers I would have liked to in the first month, I think it's really going to help me the long run in my professional career."

He hit a respectable .241 for the Charleston RiverDogs with four home runs and eleven stolen bases in his first 46 professional games, but the final numbers didn't come without its fair share of adjustments.

"The first month was kind of rough stats-wise," he admitted. "I made some adjustments with 'Colby', the hitting coach there in Charleston, and we kind of simplified everything.

"The first month -- it's baseball, things happen. I was hitting the ball hard at people so my average wasn't really reflecting how hard I was hitting it and then the last month I made some adjustments and I started hitting some extra-base hits and some home runs.

"I felt really good at the end of the season and I thought I did really well at Instructs hitting-wise."

An exceptional offspeed hitter in his college days, he wasn't quite ready for the steady diet of fastballs he quickly began to see, especially on the inner-half of the plate, and he had to tone down his once high leg-kick. Once he was able to make that adjustment and keep his hands inside better he began to look very productive at the plate.

He hit .306 over his final ten South Atlantic League games and showed better pitch recognition, two areas of his game that carried over into what was a standout performance during Instructs this offseason.

"Yeah definitely, I think that's the type of hitter I really am," he said. "I hit a lot of doubles and was driving balls into different gaps, and that's ideally what I want to be. I feel like I have plenty of power the other way and I'm very confident with the swing that I have now.

"I'm hitting it hard now in the weight room and in the batting cages and it feels good. I feel like I'm in season form right now. I'm just working hard on keeping my hands inside the zone as much as I can.

"Instructs was great though, being able to hit some of the top pitchers and see what the successful pitchers in A-ball are doing. It was definitely a confidence boost at the end of Charleston and into Instructs."

A right fielder predominantly during his college playing days and during his time in Charleston this season, the Yankees began moving Refsnyder to second base at Instructs where his bat has a better chance to make more of an impact.

"I've never really been comfortable at second base because I've played a multitude of positions ever since I stepped foot in college," he said. "I was more of an emergency guy there before I settled down in right field, but with 'Gumbsy' [second baseman Angelo Gumbs], he changed so much in one year.

"He worked hard and everyone says he's really progressed so I'm going to try to fit that mold. I'm not going to be perfect overnight and I'm going to have to work hard everyday and I'm working hard right now with my infield coaches. I just want to be able to make the plays and help the team out.

"Hopefully down the road people will consider me a good infielder but I know it's going to be a lot of work and a lot of hours behind the scenes working with the coaches.

"It's going to take some time to get comfortable there but I'm looking forward to working hard and hopefully pick up as much as I can from all of the other guys in Spring Training. I'm definitely going to be asking questions and be a sponge, and get as much information as I can.

An extremely high makeup guy, one with an unrivaled work ethic and all-out hustle style of play, Refsndyer believes that in time he can be the same kind of impact player at the professional level that he was at the amateur level.

"Definitely. I'm not blessed with the physical build, you know, 6-foot-4 and 220 [pounds]. I've really had to work hard with everything I've achieved in baseball so everyday I'm going to work as hard as I can.

"There's always going to be somebody as good as me so it's important for me to work harder than that person so hopefully down the road I'm better than him. You don't get drafted by the Yankees and win a World Series if you're not confident in your abilities.

"I'm confident mostly in the work I put in behind the scenes. I think I work extremely hard and I'm just looking forward to the opportunity. I think next season's going to be a really big year for me.

"I think everything is kind of falling into place where I got my feet wet, I know what to expect in professional baseball, I've got a good support staff in place that want to see me succeed, so I'm really looking forward to a big year wherever I start off.

"I just hope the fans see how hard I'm working but I do believe in my abilities to be an impact player at the Major League level someday. I know it's going to take a lot of hard work and time, and when the opportunity comes I'll be sure to be ready. I wish it was next season already," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 Charleston .241 162 8 4 22 22 11 16 25 .319 .364


Batting and Power. Refsnyder's offensive success is founded on his excellent strike zone discipline and pitch recognition. He shows a good balance of being patient enough to sit on his pitch and be aggressive when he needs to, not an easy line to walk for most young prospects. He is an excellent offspeed hitter, one who uses the entire field, and he shows above average bat speed of a short stroke that makes him a good opposite field hitter. He has average power overall but it could play a tick higher if he can stick in the middle infield. He could be an excellent doubles hitter in the short-term until the power develops more.

Base Running and Speed. Refsnyder's stolen base totals suggest he's a speedy runner but the fact is his speed is more average than anything. What he lacks in top speed though he more than makes up for with intelligence on the base paths and an aggressive running style, enough that he should be a double-digit base stealing threat annually and an impact runner in taking the extra bases when he can.

Defense. He plays a solid right field overall, showing above average arm strength, good reads on balls hit into the right-center gap and down the line, and makes accurate throws. The Yankees have begun transitioning him to second base and the early returns have been favorable, at least enough to allow many to believe he could stick there if given the opportunity. He shows adequate range, soft hands, and the arm strength is a real plus there. He just needs time to learn the nuances of the position, especially the double-play pivots. Of course the Yankees haven't fully decided if he'll give up the outfield all together yet either.

Projection. Refsnyder's long-term potential is going to be mostly predicated on whether or not he can stick at second base defensively because the bat is going to play there a lot better since he lacks the plus power normally associated with a starting corner outfielder. Style-wise he resembles a young Darin Erstad type as a gritty player who should make good consistent contact with the bat and wind up with one of the dirtiest uniforms at the end of each game. There's a significant offensive and intangible upside with him. The question will remain on the defensive side at second base, a transition that will remain a work in progress for the time being.

ETA. 2016. Refsnyder will move up as quickly as his defensive game takes him. If he is moved to second base full-time next year there's a good chance he could begin the year right where he left off in Charleston.

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