The New York Yankees have been a much better team than many different people expected thus far in 2015, finding themselves tied for first in the AL East with an even more surprising Tampa Bay Rays team. Their offense has been pretty good as they have scored 179 runs thus far, good for 11th best in Major League Baseball. However, this fast start and solid offense has room for improvement in the black hole that has been Stephen Drew.
Drew resigned with the Yankees late in the offseason with a one-year, $5 million contract. He was a poor hitter in 2014 finishing with a wRC+ of 44 while playing for two teams. To put that into context Drew was 56% worse than the average hitter in 2014, or downright awful. However, his veteran status and slightly above average defense must have persuaded the Yankees to resign him. This year, Drew has been slightly better raising his wRC+ to 65, which is still terrible. By WAR Drew is the second-worst qualified second baseman with a -0.3 WAR only better than the abomination that has been Chase Utley (-0.9). If the Yankees are going to make a playoff run they need to address the second base position immediately.
One option could be a trade, but that likely would not happen until closer to the trade deadline and the players who could become available are unknown at the time. New York Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy could become available as he is a free agent after the year. A move like this could allow the Mets to upgrade at short by moving Wilmer Flores to second, a position that could be better for him defensively. However, Murphy has also been pretty terrible in 2015 posting a WAR of -0.2 himself. He does have a solid track record of success though and has been getting hot as of late.
The best option for the Yankees, however, could be to promote from within. Rob Refsnyder would likely be the favorite to take over the position based on what the team has in the minors. Refsnyder, a converted collegiate outfielder from Arizona has done nothing but hit since the Yankees drafted him a few years back. He has been mashing at AAA thus far with a .312/.378/.440 slash line. After struggling at bit with strikeouts at AAA in 2014 (20%), Refsnyder has shown an improvement in that department lowering that number to 16% thus far in 2015. He also has decent power for a second baseman with an ISO of .157 in AAA last season in over 300 PAs, although that number has dropped in 2015 meaning he may be sacrificing power for contact. The Yankees do not need Refsnyder to come up and hit for great power as their lineup has a number of those types of players. If Refsnyder can come up and be right around a league average hitter, which projection systems believe he can be, and provide average defense at second he will be a huge improvement for the Yankees without having to sacrifice any of their prospects via trade.
It is time for the Yankees to realize that Drew is not going to bounce-back and become an average offensive player and it is time to call up the second baseman of the future in Rob Refsnyder.