Scouting Yankees Prospect #32: Rob Refsnyder

Refsnyder has a knack for barreling the baseball

The New York Yankees selected then outfielder Rob Refsnyder in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Arizona. The former College World Series MVP had a fantastic first full season in 2013, one which included a shift to second base, and he has quickly emerged as one of the better consistent contributors on both sides of the ball.

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

He hit a solid .293 with 32 doubles, six home runs, and 23 stolen bases between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa last year, and walked [84] more times than he struck out [82], all while making a rather seamless transition to second base by season's end.

"I thought it went great," he said. "The whole experiment with second base I think, the whole progression of that, I think it went well. It started out and I was rough around the edges I think.

"I knew it was going to be rough in the very beginning, I honestly did, but all I wanted was each month to get better and better, and cut down the errors and the mental mistakes, and I think I did that."

He did make 25 errors in his first full season playing second base but that was to be expected from a guy who had played the majority of his college career as a right fielder. The fact is he got better with each passing month and wound up committing just seven errors over his final 54 games.

"Last year it honestly felt weird to grab an infielder's glove and run out to second base instead of the outfield," he continued. "It felt strange and out of place. Luis [Sojo] and I had several conversations about how I'm not going to feel like a second baseman until I felt completely comfortable and mid-way through the year the tempo of the game began to slow down.

"People look at my error totals but I feel it's a little lopsided. It's really front-loaded. I worked my tail off and cut those [errors] down. I feel really confident going into this [next] year. I feel 100 percent that I'm a second baseman [now]."

Offensively, at least statistically, he seemed to be a little up and down. He had months where he hit well above .300 and he had months where he was barely above the .200 mark. Again though, the stats are a little misleading.

"My goal was to have a game plan and to stick with it all year," he remarked. "Success paper-wise fluctuated from month to month but you know baseball -- you could hit a ball perfectly and do everything 100 percent perfect and it's an out, and then you can do almost everything incorrectly and it could be a hit.

"The Yankees do a good job drilling it into our heads that it's not all on the paper, it's more being selective and hitting the pitches you're supposed to be swinging at. Personally I think I did a great job with that. I'm looking forward to this next year getting better."

Boasting arguably perhaps the most sound swing mechanics in the farm system as well as one of the more discernible eyes around, Refsnyder is more focused on attacking particular pitches and particular areas in an effort to drive the ball more consistently.

"My mechanics are pretty sound. My mechanics are not going to change all that much. It's more about getting a pitch that I can drive into the gaps for a double or a home run. That's all we really worked on at Instructs, finding a pitch belt-high or even a little bit higher and driving it into the gaps or out of the park in hitter's counts.

"Some of the staff was thinking that I was settling for a ball around my knees but for my swing and my mechanics I know I can hit a hard ground ball or a hard line drive but I can't get much out of it other than a single. Really, at Instructs everyone was saying I should be greedy and swing at a pitch that I can drive, and we saw some good results at Instructs.

"My mechanics are really not going to change this year going forward, but in hitter's counts just dial it in on one location and one pitch, and kind of let it rip the right way. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out this year."

Coming off of a breakout season of sorts, Refsnyder has further committed himself to improving this offseason. He's not interested in just being a hitter, he wants to be a complete player.

"The core of successful baseball in winning championships is pitching and defense and if I'm going to play second base I need to be a sound second baseman," he admitted. "I'm working towards my goal of being a Gold Glove second baseman, that's my ultimate goal.

"I don't want to be labeled as just a hitter. I want to be an all-around baseball player and I've been working a lot on my defense. I'm looking forward to just refining everything and getting better as a whole.

"As a whole I just want to get better. I want to put myself in the position where the system presents an opportunity for myself to be an everyday Major Leaguer. Last year was important and this coming year is important, that's why I took this offseason so seriously. I cut down on social distractions and really worked hard," he concluded.














2013 Tampa .283 413 28 6 51 66 16 78 70 .408 .404
2013 Charleston .370 54 4 0 6 9 7 6 12 .452 .481
2012 Charleston .241 162 8 4 22 22 11 16 25 .319 .364

Batting and Power. Offensively not much has changed for Refsnyder. His offensive success is based on tremendous strike zone discipline, advanced pitch recognition, a willingness to draw walks, and an ability to use the entire field. He is an excellent offspeed hitter too because of above average bat speed with a short, compact stroke. His swing mechanics are pretty much picture perfect. More of a gap to gap hitter right now, his home run power projects to be more average than anything, even as a middle infielder, but he has the ability to collect a lot of extra-base hits.

Base Running and Speed. More of an average runner speed-wise, Refsnyder's running game plays a level higher because of his aggressive style, high energy, and intelligence on the base paths. He is a plus base runner station to station because of his head's up style of play and he has enough wheels to be a 20-plus stolen base threat each year too.

Defense. His rather high error total last year disguises the fact that Refsnyder is actually quite athletic in the field. He shows good mobility and nimbleness, soft hands, and a desire to make every play possible. A former right fielder, he boasts plus arm strength for a second baseman. He just needs to continue to get reps in the field and learn the nuances of the position. While there might be some short-term hiccups along the way, the natural ability is there to be a Gold Glove caliber second baseman down the road.

Projection. We mentioned a year ago that Refsnyder's long-term potential was going to be mostly predicated on whether or not he can stick at second base defensively and he answered that bell in 2013. He has the chops to not only be an everyday second baseman but one who could be a real impact defensive player when it's all said and done. Throw in the fact that he has all the makings of a being a .300 type hitter who can get on base at a high rate, one who could collect a significant amount of doubles too, and with makeup off the charts, his ceiling is that of an everyday starting second baseman. The only thing he really lacks right now is legit home run power but he does have a chance to see it develop into the average, perhaps slightly above average realm someday. Only time will tell but he otherwise could be a consistent force.

ETA. 2016. Refsnyder should open up the 2014 season in Double-A Trenton. A quicker power surge combined with a real need at second base at the big league level could push his Major League ascension even shorter.

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