In an offseason highlighted by the acquisition of stars like Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka, a non-roster invitee Yangervis Solarte has unexpectedly stolen headlines this spring. The 26 year old has hit an outstanding .455 to go along with 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s. Sure it’s only Spring Training but with the Yankees having an injury prone infield, there is some chance we could Solarte make a surprising impact on his team similarly to how Jeremy Lin impacted the Knicks two years ago.
Who is Yangervis Solarte?
The spring sensation was signed out of Venezuela in 2005 when he was just 17 by the Minnesota Twins. He struggled with injuries which halted his development, and wouldn’t see a healthy season until 2011 when he compiled a .329 batting average for the Twins ‘AA’ affiliate. Solarte joined the Texas Rangers organization in 2012 when he was given the opportunity to join their Triple-AAA affiliate Round Rock Express. In two seasons with the Express he was very consistent hitting around .280 with average power while playing all over the diamond. After not getting the big league call up last year in his 26 year old season Solarte requested a release from the Rangers.
The Yankees signed Yangervis Solarte on January 12th and little did they know that he would be competing for an opening day roster spot.
After raking the baseball at the start of this year’s Spring Training Solarte told Brian Hoch of MLB.com about his desire to make a big league roster.
“I don't even want to mention the word 'Triple-A' at this moment. My dream is to play in the Majors. I got very hurt when I did not get called up to the Majors last year, so I feel that I can't get my heart broken like that again.”
Solarte clearly voiced his frustration with the Texas Rangers and he may be referring to the teams call up of the 20-year old top prospect Jurickson Profar last season. At 26 Yangervis thought he was next to receive a call up but perhaps felt he was skipped or looked over as a veteran minor leaguer in favor of the younger Profar.
Is it likely Yangervis will get the call?
The raw talent is clearly their for Solarte but with backup infielders Eduardo Nunez and Brendan Ryan already having experience at the major league level it is unlikely Solarte will make the teams Opening Day Roster. With an injury prone infield of Brian Roberts, Mark Teixeira, and a soon to be 40 year old Derek Jeter a call up for Solarte at some point this season seems likely.
Yangervis position of preference is SS or 2B but has experience at third and as well as all three outfield positions. Versatility is something that makes the Venezuelan an even more valuable asset in addition to his bat.
In the case that Solarte does not make the Opening Day Roster it may be devastating for him as he previously stated “I don’t even want to mention the word ‘Triple-A’ at this moment.” in reference to his prolonged minor league career. Though the best decision for Solarte would be to remain with the Yankees, if he doesn’t make the cut he may seek a release similar to what he did last year after not making the team. With other teams finalizing their rosters it is doubtful he would request a release and he should remain within the Yankees organization in hopes of a call up.
Regardless of when he will get the call up to the majors Solarte has proven to be a spark plug and though it may seem unlikely, he may just end up becoming the Jeremy Lin of the Yankees.