When journeyman infielder Yangervis Solarte earned himself a spot on the New York Yankees‘ opening day roster, most assumed that the career minor leaguer would be in for a rude awakening once he played in regular-season major-league action.
But, it’s April 19, and Solarte has not only played in 16 of the Yankees’ 17 contests this year, but has been arguably the team’s best hitter. The man John Sterling has already coined “never nervous Yangervis” is batting .370 this season, with one home run, nine RBIs and seven doubles.
Solarte has proven to be a disciplined hitter at the plate, as his on-base percentage this season is .452, the second highest OBP in the American League. His ability not to swing at bad pitches has put him in favorable counts at the plate all season, and in turn has gotten him good pitches to hit.
As of right now, he is second in the AL in batting average, only behind Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox. His slugging percentage of .556 is also the seventh highest in the AL.
Solarte came into this season with the task of helping replace departing All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, and has so far outplayed him this year. This could change in a very short period of time, but at this point in the season, Solarte has much better numbers than Cano, who has gotten off to a slow start in Seattle.
While the 26-year-old from Valencia, Venezuela has put together an impressive start, it’s important to remember that it only has been a few weeks. Solarte has spent eight years in the minor leagues, and it would not be shocking if the league is able to figure him out very quickly.
But, as of right now, Solarte has earned himself a spot as an everyday starting infielder for the Yankees. It is almost a certainty that he will not be able to keep up his current pace, as his current pace would likely make him worthy of an AL MVP award.
But, he could find himself being a productive No. 7 or 8 hitter for the club all season, and that’s more than the Yankees could have ever asked for when they signed a journeyman infielder named Yangervis Solarte to a minor-league deal back in January.