With every Spring Training comes a player or two who tears the cover off the ball for a few weeks. While it may make some fans contemplate whether or not that player will go north with the team, most understand that this player, typically a non-roster invitee, is destined to be Triple-A filler. What Yankees have fit this description in recent seasons?
Jon Weber‘s 2010 seems to be the example most commonly brought up. He hit .452/.452/.581 in 31 plate appearances. Weber was a 32 year-old minor-league journeyman at that point, with no chance at breaking camp with the Yankees. He stuck around in Triple-A, but 2010 wound up being his final season in affiliated ball, likely in part because of a 100-game drug suspension.
The following Spring Training was the March of Jorge Vazquez. Like Weber, Vazquez was an older player without a taste of the big leagues. He had shown some impressive power at Triple-A the year prior, so when he batted .412/.444/.765 in 35 chances in 2011’s camp, it wasn’t terribly shocking given the sample.
Mr. March of 2012 was Jose Gil, a career organizational catcher for the Yankees minus a short stint with Baltimore’s farm in 2013. He boasted a .455/.440/.727 triple-slash 23 opportunities, and yes, managed to post an OBP below his batting average. Gil is back with the Yankees this Spring once again.
Last season, there wasn’t any particular standout performance from an obscure player, but I do want to note that Kevin Youkilis hit six homers in 54 trips to the dish. Shows how much Spring Training performances mean.
This year’s flash in the pan is easily Yangervis Solarte. Theoretically, he has a chance at landing a role as a utility player, but the odds are extremely thin with more plausible choices in-house. He’s raked to the tune of .500/.533/.929 with two long balls in 34 plate appearances. Sorry Yangervis, but your beastly Spring probably won’t prevent you from riding buses all year long with Scranton.
So what did we learn? Nothing we shouldn’t have already known: random players can put up big numbers in small March samples. In the end, all we can do is just shrug our shoulders at these strange performances. They make for funny memories months or years later, but nothing truly meaningful otherwise. I look forward to Kyle Roller killing it in 2015.