Prospect Profile: Robert Refsnyder

2014 Stats: 

Level: AA/AAA

.318/.387/.497   10% BB%   18% K%   .179 ISO   .377 BABIP   9/18 SB%   -4 DEF

Refsnyder ranked #7 on my Yankees top 100 list.

Background:

A 5th round pick in 2012, Rob Refsnyder broke out in a big way in 2013, when he slashed an impressive .293/.413/.413 between Low-A and High-A. But as promising as an .826 OPS from a second baseman sounds, there was reason to be skeptical of Redsnyder’s future. Not only was his defense sketchy, but his batting line was largely driven by walks, which don’t always carry over to the high-minors.

What he did in 2014:

Refsnyder proved his skeptics wrong in Double-A last year by hitting even better than he did in 2013. The 23-year-old was dominant from the get-go in 2014, and never really fell back to earth. After hitting .342/.385/.548 in two months with the Thunder, he finally earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton, where he didn’t hit quite as well, but still managed a .300/.389/.456 batting line. Refsnyder played mostly second base last year, but also got a few reps in right field, where he played exclusively in his college days.

What Kiley says:

Refsnyder was below the radar as an amateur, going in the 5th round in 2012 out of the University of Arizona. He played right field in college and was seen as a potential reserve. The Yankees saw a little more and moved him to second base, where he’s fringy to average defensively now. The bat has played more than expected, with a huge 2014 in Double-A and Triple-A at age 23, flashing advanced feel to hit and bat control with average raw power and an above average hit tool.

Refsnyder’s swing is a little awkward, but he makes it work: he starts with high hands and has a high leg kick, but it’s controlled and he loads his hands lower late, allowing him to have a short, direct stroke. The expectation is that he’ll compete for the second base job this year and if the bat, power and defense all play as expected, this could be a solid everyday player.

What KATOH says:

KATOH, my prospect projection system, isn’t crazy about Refsnyder, projecting him for just 5 WAR over the next five seasons. However, it does give him a robust 92% chance of reaching the bigs, along with a respectable 30% chance of racking up over 4 WAR. KATOH basically sees him as a high floor, low ceiling prospect: A guy who’s a near lock to stick around for a while, but is unlikely to make any All-Star teams. Here’s the breakout:

Refsnyder

Future Outlook:

Refsnyder’ a very intriguing player offensively. While he doesn’t hit many homers, Refsnyder barrels a lot of pitches — 19% of his batted balls were line drives last year. He also does an excellent job of controlling the strike zone, which has helped him run very high OBP’s throughout the minors. Minor league walks aren’t always predictive of big league success, but Refsnyder’s act is getting pretty believable now that he’s done it at the highest level of the minors. At the very least, he should be able to be something close to league-average at the plate, which would be extremely valuable coming from a second baseman.

It remains to be seen, however, if Refsnyder will be able to play a passable second base. Evaluators say his defense isn’t pretty, but he’s also relatively new to the position. Although he played second in high school, he was exclusively an outfielder in college and his first year as a pro. He only started playing second again in 2013, so he’s still learning the finer points of being an infielder. His development at second base will play a pretty big role in dictating his upside: His bat suddenly becomes a lot less valuable if he’s moved to an outfield corner.

Refsnyder has a shot of cracking the Bombers’ opening day roster, but the more likely scenario has him breaking camp with Triple-A Scranton, where he’d be able to work on his defense. Either way, it’s only a matter of time before he gets his chance with the big club. He’s done nothing but rake in the minors, and it’s time to see what he can do against big league pitching.

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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