Refsnyder gaining confidence at second
Prospect happy with improvement, but not complacent
BOSTON -- Rob Refsnyder seemed to be caught off guard by how brief his first big league callup was this summer, but the Yankees prospect said he set his mind toward making the most of that extra development time, which he hopes will pay dividends at second base.
Refsnyder, rated as the Yankees' No. 6 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, said that he felt tentative on defense earlier in the season, but the 24-year-old worked extensively with defensive coach Justin Tordi and infield instructor Carlos Mendoza at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to improve his glovework.
"I put in a lot of hours. I'm pretty happy with where I'm at, but I'm definitely not complacent," Refsnyder said. "They found something to help my range out, my first step. It's worked out lately really well. It's been cool to see the results kind of immediately. Hopefully it keeps rolling, but I feel good now."
A converted outfielder, Refsnyder said that the coaches have stressed that he must stay more on the balls of his feet when the pitch is going through the hitting zone, and to keep his top half lower to the ground so he can better read the hops on ground balls.
"We watched video, and I hadn't watched as much video in the past, but it helped," Refsnyder said. "I'm definitely gaining confidence with it, because I'm getting to balls, and they've showed me defensive metrics that show I'm improving. That's always good."
Though he showed a live bat in the Minors, posting a .271/.359/.402 split with nine homers and 56 RBIs, the Yankees still seem to have some concerns about Refsnyder's defense. He was only with the big league club for four games in July, and manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that he is not sure how much playing time Refsnyder will get in September.
"I have not said he's going to play this much or that much," Girardi said. "Stephen Drew is playing extremely well. Will I pick some spots to give him a day off here or there? Yeah, probably. We have a long stretch after this day off. We've got a tough schedule, 30 out of 31 days. But with the way he's playing, [Drew is] going to play."
Refsnyder said that his mindset is to get better every day. He committed 18 errors in 117 games at Triple-A, and he said that he is looking forward to getting additional time with infield coach Joe Espada and his teammates this month.
"I've had a lot of good people helping me out," Refsnyder said. "Didi [Gregorius] has helped me out, Brendan [Ryan] has helped me out, Stephen [has helped as well]. It's a wealth of knowledge. I can't say enough about the guys I've worked with throughout my career. We've spent a lot of time and burned a lot of energy. I'm super thankful, for sure."