Nicholas Blake Solak…he and his fiancé, Roxanne McVey, became engaged on 11/23/19…has participated in the Rangers Winter Caravan in both offseasons since joining the organization…was originally selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 June draft out of the University of Louisville, where he was teammates with Brendan McKay (2015-16)…was a team captain, second team All-ACC and third team All-American as a junior, batting .376/.470/.564 (62-for-165) with 14 2B, 5 HR and 29 RBI as the Cardinals made a run to the Super Regionals…also played alongside McKay and Pete Alonso with the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2015…graduated from Naperville North (Ill.) High School in 2013.
Tied for the club lead with 58 games played (also Isiah Kiner-Falefa), logging time at LF (23), 2B (16), CF (13) and DH (5)…had at least one plate appearance at all nine spots in the batting order, but was penciled in at the 1-5 positions in 49 of his 57 starts…was the club’s Opening Day left fielder, his 1st time on a season-opening roster…made 1st ML start in CF on 7/31 at SF…in Spring Training, had 9 G/6 GS in CF and 4 G/2 GS in LF…spent time in both OF and INF (including 1st base) during Summer Camp…rated as the club’s 4th-best prospect entering the season by Baseball America.
Spent the bulk of the year at the Triple-A level with Durham and Nashville, but excelled in his first MLB action with Texas over the season's final 6 weeks…acquired by TEX in a 7/13 trade with TB in exchange for RHP Pete Fairbanks.
MINORS: Combined to bat .289/.362/.532/.894 with a career-best 27 HR and 74 RBI over 115 games with Durham (Rays AAA) and Nashville… marked highest SLG and OPS figures of his career…ranked among Durham team leaders at the time of the trade in HR (1st, 17), RBI (2nd, 47), runs (2nd, 56 - also 9th in International League), and BB (T2nd, 39)…posted multi-HR games on 6/2 vs. Columbus and 6/12 vs. Toledo…batted .347/.386/.653/1.038 (41-118) with NAS following the 7/13 trade, compiling an 18-G hit streak from 7/30-8/18 (.432, 32-74).
TEXAS: Had contract purchased from Nashville on 8/20, and batted .293/.393/.491/.884 with 5 HR and 17 RBI over 33 G with the Rangers in his 1st ML action…beginning with his call-up on 8/20, led Texas (min. 112 PA) in BA, OBP, OPS, and pitches per PA (4.07), and ranked among team leaders in SLG (2nd), BB (2nd, 15), TB (3rd, 57), H (3rd, 34), XBH (3rd, 12), 2B (3rd, 6), R (T3rd, 19), HR (4th), and RBI (4th)…had 3 game-winning RBI, T1st on the club after promotion…reached safely in 28 of 33 games, including 1st 11 G to establish a club record…had 32 GS at DH (16), 3B (11), and 2B (5), his 1st-ever pro starts at the hot corner…career-high 3 H and 4 RBI on 9/8 at BAL…had only 4 games missed after promotion to TEX…ML debut in start as DH on 8/20 vs. LAA-D, single in 7th (off Andrew Heaney for 1st ML hit)…hit 1st ML HR in Game 2 (off Jaime Barria)…was 2nd player in WSH/TEX franchise history to hit safely in both ends of a DH in ML debut (also Roy Howell, 9/9/74 at CAL), 1st in MLB since KC's Cheslor Cuthbert on 7/7/15 vs. TB (credit Elias).
NOTES: Hit ground ball that delivered TEX's 1st win on a game-ending error on 8/20 vs. LAA-N (Albert Pujols) for the 1st time since 9/29/10 vs. SEA (Nelson Cruz reached on SO/WP/error)…had 17 starts in the cleanup spot, including 10th ML game on 8/29 vs. SEA…was the first Ranger to do so within his first 10 ML games since Pete Incaviglia on 4/20/86 at BAL.
Named Most Valuable Player for Double-A Montgomery by the Rays Baseball Operations department…marked his first season in the Rays organization; was acquired in a three-team trade involving Steven Souza Jr. …named to the Southern League midseason and postseason All-Star teams… led the SL with 91 runs, 135 hits and a .384 OBP, ranked 2nd with 76 RBI, 3rd with 68 BB and 215 total bases and 4th with a .282 avg. …his 19 HR and 76 RBI both tied for 4th among Rays minor leaguers…was 1 HR shy of becoming the first Rays minor leaguer with a 20-HR, 20-SB season since Justin Ruggiano in 2007…named SL Player of the Month for August, batting .305 (25-for-82) with 5 HR and 14 RBI…played 11 games for the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League…ranked by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in the Rays system following the season
Split the season between Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, batting .297/.384/.452 (138-for-465) with 26 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 53 RBI and 14 SB…ranked 6th among Yankees minor leaguers in avg. …earned an Aug 1 promotion after 100 games with Tampa…led the Florida State League with a .397 OBP and ranked 2nd with a .301 avg. and .460 SLG…on July 29 at Daytona (Reds), went 4-for-5 with 2 HR and a career-high 6 RBI, the first multi-HR game of his career…named to the FSL postseason All-Star Team and the Yankees Organizational All-Star Team by MLB.com…ranked by MLB.com as the No. 5 second base prospect following the season…ranked by Baseball America as the No. 14 prospect in the Florida State League… the publication also tabbed him as the Best Hitter for Average in the Yankees organization in its Best Tools survey.
Led Yankees minor leaguers with a .321 avg. in his first professional season…tied for 2nd in the New York-Penn League with 77 hits, ranked 3rd with 48 runs and a .412 OBP and ranked 4th in avg. …hit .363 (58-for-160) over his final 42 games of the season, including .411 (23-for-56) over a 14-game hitting streak from July 28-Aug 13…named to the NYPL midseason All-Star Team and Baseball America's Short-Season All-Star Team…ranked by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in the Yankees system following the season.