Three weeks ago, Yangervis Solarte still had no idea whether he’d done enough. He knew he’d put up numbers in spring training, but he also knew Eduardo Nunez was the known commodity. Solarte was the new guy, the unfamiliar face, the guy with good exhibition numbers and absolutely no big league time.
He’s since made his first Opening Day roster, become essentially an everyday player, hit his first big league home run, and started his first ever triple play.
“He’s done a lot in two weeks, hasn’t he?” Joe Girardi said. “I’m sure he’s probably hoping he doesn’t wake up, in a sense. The kid has been a big boost for us. Someone that found out he was making the team fairly late; not even early enough to take the plane to Houston. He has given us a big boost.”
After Solarte’s second hit last night, one of the other writers turned to me and asked, “How good is he going to be, really.” My short, simple and perfectly honest answer was this: I have no idea. Right now, a 26-year-old who never cracked the big leagues or put up particularly impressive numbers in the Pacific Coast League is hitting .373 with the most doubles on the Yankees roster.
Can he really be this good? Surely not. Can he be a legitimate big league player? You know, he just might.
“If you looked at him in spring training it’s not that surprising,” CC Sabathia said. “But for him to come up and still be swinging the bat the way it is is awesome, and filling in at third for us while Tex has been out, he’s been great for us.”
That much is undeniable. Solarte has been outstanding, and he just keeps doing it. Between spring training and the start of this season, the sample size is up to 93 at-bats, which is still far short of a half season — and those spring at-bats obviously count as something far less than regular-season at-bats — but it’s not a tiny amount of data. At some point, he surely has to regress, but it’s becoming harder and harder to completely dismiss him as a fluke of timing and good luck.
“I don’t think about it,” Solarte said. “All I do is work hard. Work hard, and everything is going to happen. I thank God for that. … This is incredible for me. I don’t want to wake up. I want to keep working hard and doing what I’m doing right now.”
Associated Press photo