Yamaico Navarro Perez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
Yamaico Navarro, signed by scout Pablo Lantigua, began his professional career in 2006, with the DSL Red Sox. He hit .279/.344/.438 in 53 games. The following year, he played for the Lowell Spinners, hitting .289/.357/.409 in 62 games. In 2008, Navarro played for the Greenville Drive (83 games) and Lancaster JetHawks (42 games), hitting a combined .304 with 11 home runs in 125 games. He spent the winter with the North Shore Honu and hit .207. Baseball America named him the #9 prospect in the Boston Red Sox chain.
He played for the Spinners (five games), Salem Red Sox (23 games) and Portland Sea Dogs (39 games), hitting a combined .240/.310/.392 in 67 games while battling injury in 2009. He was 2 for 16 that winter for the Tigres del Licey. Navarro hit .275/.356/.437 with 11 home runs and 18 steals in 24 tries for the Sea Dogs (88 games) and Pawtucket Red Sox (16 games) prior to his August 20, 2010 call-up to the major leagues. He was summoned to replace an injured Dustin Pedroia on the roster.
He made his major league debut the same day, coming in as a substitute in a 16-2 Red Sox loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Pinch-hitting for SS Marcos Scutaro, he singled off Brett Cecil in his first major league at-bat, then was retired in his next two turns at the plate; in the field he played 2 innings each at second base and at shortstop. He was 6 for 42 with two walks and 17 whiffs for the Red Sox that summer. With Licey in 2010-2011, he hit .260/.400/.478.
Navarro began 2011 in AAA with Pawtuckket and hit .258/.362/.469 with 25 runs in 34 games as a utility man. Called up to Boston, he hit his first MLB homer off J.A. Happ as a pinch-hitter for Andrew Miller. He batted .216/.275/.351 in 16 games and 40 plate appearances for the 2011 Red Sox. He was traded to the Kansas City Royals with Kendal Volz for Mike Aviles. He split the remainder of the year between the 2011 Royals (.304/.346/.348 in 6 G) and Omaha Storm Chasers (.262/.317/.391 in 25 G). He hit .265/.358/.277 for Licey in winter ball.
The San Pedro de Macoris native was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a deal that off-season for Diego Goris and Brooks Pounders. He hit .279/.366/.491 in 66 games for the Indianapolis Indians (playing all four infield positions as well as left field) but only .160/.232/.220 in 56 plate appearances and 29 contests for the 2012 Pirates. Pittsburgh then sent him in his fourth trade, this time to the Baltimore Orioles for Jhondaniel Medina.
He hit .267/.354/.418 for the 2013 Norfolk Tides, playing mostly shortstop, and went 8 for 28 with two walks and a triple for the 2013 Orioles. With Licey in 2013-2014, he hit .277/.393/.497 with 9 doubles, 8 home runs and 38 RBI in 45 games. He was one of the top stars in the Dominican League, leading in homers (two more than Alex Valdez) and RBI (10 ahead of Gregory Polanco), tied for 7th in doubles, tied for second in total bases (79, even with Zoilo Almonte, 3 behind Polanco), second with 30 walks (3 behind Jonathan Diaz), 4th in OBP (between Moises Sierra and Rafael Ynoa), second in slugging (.014 behind Ynoa), tied for 8th in average with Marcell Ozuna and third in OPS behind Polanco and Ynoa. Polanco won MVP. After his superb winter, Navarro was signed by the New York Yankees at the end of November, but was then released at the end of December. He then signed with South Korea's Samsung Lions.
Navarro batted .310/.419/.555 with 31 homers, 96 walks, 25 steals in 34 tries, 118 runs and 98 RBI in 124 games for Samsung in the high-offense 2014 KBO. He did not make the league's top 20 in offense, but was third in runs (behind Keon-chang Seo and Byung-ho Park), tied Hyung-woo Choi for 5th in home runs, was 8th in total bases (between Choi and Ah-seop Son), was 9th in RBI (between Tae-in Chae and Felix Pie), tied Park for the most walks, was 10th in slugging (between Seung-yeop Lee and Seo) and 10th in OPS (between Seo and Byung-kyu Lee).
He was 8 for 24 with four home runs and 10 RBI in six games from the leadoff slot in the 2014 Korean Series as Samsung beat the Nexen Heroes for their fourth straight Korean Series title, tying a record. His four homers tied Tyrone Woods' Series record and earned him Series MVP, the first foreigner to win since Woods in 2001. No foreigner had even homered in a Korean Series since Jay Davis in 2006 before Navarro took Andy Van Hekken deep in game 1. He scored 3 runs in game 2 and drove in 5 in game 6, the clincher, including a 3-run bomb off Sang-woo Cho.