- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- The big improvement to the Yankees' offense could come from within. Rob Refsnyder, a 23-year-old second baseman, is rocketing through the Yankees system and could end up in the Bronx -- perhaps, sooner than later.
"He is rising like a meteor," Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com. "He is moving himself up the ladder, no doubt about it with that bat."
The right-handed hitting Refsnyder first dominated at Double-A, batting .342 in 60 games. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A. In his first 19 games for Scranton, he tore up the International League with a .370 average.
In his 79 minor league games this year, he has hit nine homers and his OPS is nearly 1.000.
The Yankees have called up a rookie "Robbie" before to play second base for a struggling offense. In 2005, a young man by the name of Robinson Cano was promoted in May and didn't leave until he was offered $240 million to go West nine years later.
In Cano's place, Brian Roberts has struggled. Of the 10 second baseman who qualified for the batting title in the American League entering Monday, Roberts' .233 average was the worst among them all. Roberts did go on to tie Monday's game with a ninth inning solo shot.
The Yankees are evaluating whether the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Refsnyder, who was an outfielder, is good enough defensively to handle the next step, and if he will continue to hit at the major league level. If they think he can, who knows how soon he could be with the big club.
Cashman said the Yankees won't just call up Refsnyder for a jolt. They will do it because they believe he is better than what they have.
"If we feel he is ready to help and contribute and he is better than what we got, that's true of any prospect in the minor leagues," Cashman said. "He has to keep going. He is learning a new position, having been converted from the outfield to second base."
Refsnyder, a Korean American, is used to success. He was named the College World Series' Most Outstanding Player, hitting .476 to help lead Arizona to a national title in 2012.
That June, the Yankees drafted him in the fifth round.
"You always have high expectations of all your prospects, believing one thing and having them do it is another," Cashman said. "He's backing up a lot of our personnel's belief in him with some serious offensive production. He's making us pay attention."
Could you see him up in the Bronx soon?
"We'll see," Cashman said. "Obviously, that is his hope, his dream, getting to the big leagues, becoming a productive player in the big leagues. He is moving himself closer and closer to consideration for that time of stuff. Whether that is realistic for 2014.
"We don't do something to jolt the club. We do it because we think it would be a better option."
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