The Yangervis Solarte All Stars
I tuned into the Yankees/Blue Jays matchup on the first Friday of MLB’s regular season expecting to see Toronto’s artificial turf giving fits to New York’s thirtysomething keystone combo of Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts. Instead I found the unlikely, and equally unheard of, combination of Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte manning the middle infield for Joe Girardi’s squad. Who? Of course Solarte laced a pair of doubles and drove in three in route to a 7-3 win for the Yanks. The Yankees’ broadcasters were gushing at Solarte’s exploits as I surfed over to baseballreference.com in search of more information on New York’s unknown infielder.
The 26-year-old Solarte currently leads the American League with six doubles and is hitting over .300 in the small sample size that is early April. The former Twins and Rangers farmhand has started games at third and second for the Yankees. While Solarte has been an early season revelation, Yankees fans, and their homer broadcasters on YES, should pump the breaks before predicting big things for the Venezuelan. In eight minor league seasons Solarte amassed 41 home runs, 33 steals, and a .733 OPS. Solarte’s sudden rise to prominence in the Yankees’ lineup says much more about the sad state of New York’s infield than it does about Solarte’s long-term big league viability. Solarte strikes me as similar to former Red Sox infielder Pedro Ciriaco, another career minor leaguer with underwhelming numbers, who emerged from nowhere to hit .293 for Boston in 2012 and just as quickly crashed back down to Earth.