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Yangervis Solarte

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Yangervis Alfredo Solarte

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[edit] Biographical Information

Infielder Yangervis Solarte made the majors in 2014. His uncle Ronny Cedeño has been a major leaguer.

He began his career in the Minnesota Twins system after being signed by scout Jose Leon. He hit .278/.373/.376 for the 2006 DSL Twins. In 2007, he batted .302/.342/.377 with 53 hits in 52 games for the GCL Twins. He played all three outfield slots as well as 2B, SS and 3B. During 2008, the Valencia native was a utility man for the Beloit Snappers (.218/.293/.245 in 41 G) and Fort Myers Miracle (.259/.310/.395 in 42 G), playing at least 10 games at 2B, 3B, RF and LF. He opened 2009 with Fort Myers (3 for 16, 2B) but injured his right shoulder early on and had surgery. He did not return until late in the year, at which point he got into 9 games on a rehab stint with the GCL Twins (5 for 28, 5 BB) before a promotion to the New Britain Rock Cats (1 for 7). He hit .302/.362/.417 for the Tigres de Aragua in the 2009-2010 Venezuelan League.

2010 was again shortened by injuries, missing a month and a half with torn meniscus in his right knee; he played for the GCL Twins (4 for 23, BB), Miracle (.320/.371/.419 in 45 G) and Rock Cats (.276/.290/.417 in 32 G). He batted .268/.342/.361 in the regular season for Aragua then was 11 for 40 with a triple in the postseason.

In 2011, he hit .329/.367/.466 with 36 doubles and seven home runs in 121 games for the Rock Cats. He was the Eastern League All-Star second baseman that season and finished among the EL leaders in average (2nd, .003 behind Starling Marte, .003 ahead of Mike Spidale), strikeout rate (1st, 13.8 PA/K), hits (151, 4th, behind Marte, Spidale and Chris Parmelee), OPS (10th, between Tyler Moore and Jordany Valdespin) and doubles (36, tied for 5th with Carlos Rivero). Among Twins farmhands, he led in doubles (two ahead of Lance Ray and Evan Bigley) and average (9 points ahead of Brian Dozier). He batted .317/.366/.404 for Aragua in 2011-2012 but was just 10 for 47 in the playoffs. Had he qualified, he would have been 7th in the league in average.

He became a free-agent following the 2011 season and signed with the Texas Rangers, playing at Triple-A in both 2012 and 2013. He was the main second baseman for the Round Rock Express in '12, hitting .288/.340/.405. He grounded into 29 double plays, easily leading the 2012 PCL (9 ahead of Ryan Spilborghs and Francisco Peguero), leading in double plays at second base (93) and being the second-hardest batter to fan (12.91 PA/K, behind only Angel Sanchez). He produced at a .301/.365/.403 clip with 28 runs in 47 games for the Tigres in winter ball, then hit .323 with 25 runs in 23 playoff games after joining the Cardenales de Lara for that stretch.

Back with Round Rock for 2013, he hit .276/.323/.403 with 31 doubles and 75 RBI. He tied Aaron Cunningham and Chris Owings for 10th in the 2013 PCL in doubles and tied Cunningham for third in the Rangers chain, behind Rougned Odor and Chih-Hsien Chiang. He was 6th in the Texas farm system in RBI, between Odor and Drew Robinson. He was granted free agency following the 2013 season and signed with the New York Yankees. With Aragua in 2013-2014, he batted .303/.418/.348 with 25 walks in 38 games and would have been 6th in OBP had he qualified, just ahead of Bobby Abreu.

Solarte made the Yankees' roster out of spring training in 2014, beating Eduardo Nunez out of a back-up infielder job. He made his debut in the team's second game of the season, pinch-hitting for 3B Kelly Johnson in the 7th inning with the Houston Astros ahead, 2-0, and runners on first and third with no out. Facing Kevin Chapman, he grounded into a double play, scoring one run but also killing the budding rally. He stayed in the game at third base and had another at-bat in the 9th, popping out to first base against Josh Fields to end the game as the Astros won, 3-1. He then made his first start the next day at 3B and had 3 hits and a walk, scored 2 runs and drove in 1 to lead New York to its first win of the year, 4-2 over Houston. His first MLB hit came off Brett Oberholtzer. When 1B Mark Teixeira went on the DL the next day, it gave Yangervis more opportunity to play, as 3B Johnson moved to first and he took over at the hot corner. He put up back-to-back two-hit games on April 4-5 for a red hot 7 for 13 start to his career. He continued to hit very well through the next couple of months while getting a lot of playing time. On June 8th, his average was still at .299, but he went through a dry stretch after that, hitting .073, even though he was still getting regular playing time as the starting third baseman. On July 3rd, he was hitting .260 with 6 homers and 30 RBIs in 71 games when he was sent down to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders as the Yankees called up Zelous Wheeler to take his place. He hit an amazing .600 (12 for 20) in 5 games to earn a quick call-back. On July 22nd, he was traded to the San Diego Padres along with P Rafael De Paula in return for 3B Chase Headley. It was a moved that showed that the Yankees were willing to make a postseason push, and that they considered that Solarte was a flash in the pan. He was at .254 in 75 games, having gone only 1 for 10 since his return from AAA. In his first game for the Padres on July 23rd, he went 2 for 4 in an 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, driving in a run with a 1st-inning triple and coming in to score on a sacrifice fly to set the tone for the Friars.

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[edit] Further Reading

  • Bob Nightengale: "Yankees find minimum-wage gold", USA Today, April 22, 2014. [1]

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