Robert Refsnyder or Jose Pirela?

By: Chad Raines

With the departure of Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins, the Yankees have been tasked with the dilemma in the form of their 2015 starting second basemen. The team is making strides in getting younger as they have made a point to do with the offseason. Now, they are faced with a decision, Robert Refsnyder or Jose Pirela.
Just like any position battle, there are quite a few pros and cons to each of them. But let’s begin with the similarities of the two of them. Both Refsnyder and Pirela can play the outfield. However, Refsnyder has only played right field at times which Pirela has played games in right, left and center field. Neither are conventional MLB outfielders but manager Joe Girardi would be given the opportunity to put them out there from time to time.

Jose Pirela is the ideal utility man. In the minor leagues, he has time at every position except catcher and pitcher. He played all the positions included in 2014 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre except third base. Let’s take a look at his fielding numbers are each position throughout his minor league career. I have highlighted the notably above average in yellow, the notably below average in green and mediocre in blue and have taken the amount of games played into account for every highlight you will see in this article.
Jose Pirela
Position
Games Played
Defensive Chances
Putouts
Assists
Errors
Fielding %
Range Factor Per Game
2B (8 seasons)
300
1325
579
709
37
.972
4.29
SS (6 seasons)
364
1537
478
951
108
.930
3.93
LF (3 seasons)
64
109
105
4
0
1.000
1.70
CF (1 season)
6
21
21
0
0
1.000
3.50
RF (1 season)
13
32
28
2
2
.938
2.31
1B (1 season)
12
96
91
5
0
1.000
8.00
3B (1 season)
11
24
6
11
7
.708
1.55
Total (8 seasons)
777
3144
1308
1682
154
.951
3.85

It should be noted that Pirela is an average fielder at second base at best. However, the knock on Refsnyder is that he is not a good enough fielding second basemen to play every day at the Major League level. In comparison to Pirela’s eight (he’s been in the Yankees system since he was 17) seasons of minor league ball, Refsnyder has just three as he went to the University of Arizona to play college baseball. Again, above average is yellow, below average is green and mediocre is blue.

Rob Refsnyder
Position
Games Played
Defensive Chances
Putouts
Assists
Errors
Fielding %
Range Factor Per Game
2B (2 seasons)
230
969
393
539
37
.962
4.05
RF (2 seasons)
51
93
86
5
2
.978
1.78
Total (3 seasons)
287
1062
479
544
39
.963
3.56

Ironically, Refsnyder actually comes in as a slightly better defensive player than Pirela if you look at the full body of work. Despite that, Pirela has shown better defensive ability as a second basemen.

Despite the mediocre fielding exhibited by both players, I believe the player who hits the baseball better will end up getting the job as the Opening Day second basemen in 2015. Pirela has come a long way and was very impressive in his short stint with the Yankees in September (where he hit .333 with 2 triples and a double). Refsnyder’s bat is what makes him the appealing prospect that he is. Let’s take a deeper look into their numbers. Above average=yellow, below average=green, mediocre=blue.

Jose Pirela
Year Team (Level) [Games Played]
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS
2012 Trenton (AA) [82]
317
55
93
19
3
8
33
26
48
.293
.356
.448
.804
2013 Trenton (AA) [124]
459
73
125
27
5
10
62
56
61
.272
.359
.418
.777
2013 Scranton (AAA) [5]
23
3
7
0
0
0
1
1
2
.304
.333
.304
.638
2014 Scranton (AAA) [130]
535
87
163
21
11
10
60
37
74
.305
.351
.441
.792
Minor League Career Totals (8 Seasons)[796]
3082
464
842
137
46
45
347
281
480
.273
.339
.391
.731
2014 Yankees (MLB) [7]
24
6
8
1
2
0
3
1
4
.333
.360
.542
.902

Pirela has been up and down as a hitter but has shown the ability to be a solid hitter. His strikeout to walk ratio is less than ideal but he still manages to maintain a good on base percentage and is able to score runs when he gets on base. Again, he impressed most Yankee fans in September with the spark he provided as he hit the ball very well in limited at-bats. I look for him to continue to be a solid hitter as he could probably stroke a .275 clip across a full season in the MLB.

Rob Refsnyder
Year Team (Level) [Games Played]
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS
2012 Charleston (A) [46]
162
22
39
8
0
4
22
16
25
.241
.319
.364
.683
2013 Charleston (A) [13]
54
9
20
4
1
0
6
6
12
.370
.452
.481
.933
2013 Tampa (A+) [117]
413
66
117
28
2
6
51
78
70
.283
.408
.404
.812
2014 Trenton (AA) [60]
228
35
78
19
5
6
30
14
38
.342
.385
.548
.933
2014 Scranton (AAA) [77]
287
47
86
19
1
8
33
41
67
.300
.389
.456
.845
Minor League Career Totals (3 Seasons) [313]
1144
179
340
78
9
24
142
155
212
.297
.389
.444
.833

From a pure statistical standpoint, it’s pretty clear that the better hitter is Refsnyder. Another trait that Refsnyder carries is how he shines in big moments and seems to be a clutch hitter, although Pirela has shown flashes of a clutch-gene as well. Refsnyder’s only below average season from an offensive standpoint was in his first season. Ever since then, he has been incredibly reliable at the dish. His strikeout to walk ratio is also better than Pirela and Refsnyder has more home run power than Pirela. Pirela hits a noticeably high amount of doubles and triples which makes up for his lack of power.

Now I will give you a few more statistics to look at. I’ll give you base running stats and I will throw in a couple of sabermetrics.

Jose Pirela
Year Team (Level) [Games Played]
SB
CS
wSB
WAR
BABIP
wRC+
ISO
2012 Trenton (AA) [82]
9
3
0.6
2.2
.323
123
.155
2013 Trenton (AA) [124]
18
3
2.2
4.1
.293
118
.146
2013 Scranton (AAA) [5]
1
0
0.2
0.0
.333
81
.000
2014 Scranton (AAA)[130]
15
7
-0.1
3.3
.336
117
.136
2014 Yankees (MLB) [7]
0
0
0.0
0.3
.400
149
.208


Rob Refsnyder
Year Team (Level) [Games Played]
SB
CS
wSB
WAR
BABIP
wRC+
ISO
2012 Charleston (A) [46]
11
1
1.6
0.1
.261
91
.123
2013 Charleston (A) [13]
7
0
1.3
0.9
.476
173
.111
2013 Tampa (A+) [117]
16
6
0.5
2.7
.326
140
.121
2014 Trenton (AA) [60]
5
5
-1.1
2.8
.391
159
.206
2014 Scranton (AAA) [77]
4
4
-1.0
1.4
.364
137
.157

Overall, Refsnyder SHOULD be the guy running out to second base when Opening Day rolls around in 2015. At the same time, Pirela should stick around and begin the season in pinstripes as well. With his versatility and above average speed off the bench, the team could find a use for him in almost every game at almost any position. Pirela could serve as an Eduardo Nunez or Yangervis Solarte type of player and could turn a few heads if he performs like he did in September with the Yankees. If Refsnyder can work with the glove, I think he could be a very solid second basemen in the MLB for a few seasons as he has the demeanor of a Major League player. But more importantly, both of these players are young talents and have both earned their chance to make the 25-man roster by Opening Day.

Follow me on twitter @Chad_Rain 

Comments

  1. Very good research. I, myself, would like to see both of them in Pinstripes on opening day as well.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment