Eovaldi, who is a starting pitcher who will turn 25 in February, is known for his dominating fastball that averages 96 mph while having a low strikeout total (142 in 199.2 innings last season) because he struggles with his location. He was traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins in 2012 in the blockbuster Hanley Ramirez deal. He has made 83 appearances (79 starts) while pitching 460 innings combined with the Dodgers and Marlins and has a deceiving record of 15-35 with a 4.07 ERA.
He had a 6-14 record while posting an ERA 4.24 last season. However, the former 11th-round draft pick out of Alvin High in Texas, had by far his best season of his career in 2013 as he showed his potential recording a 3.39 ERA in his 18 starts. If he can locate his overpowering fastball in the corners instead of throwing right down the middle like he often does he could have another season like he did in 2013.
Consistency and immaturity are his main issues as a pitcher. This is what an NL advanced scout said about Eovaldi: “He has No. 2 starter stuff, throws 98, but is very immature. His response to any trouble is to throw harder.” His 95.7 average fastball last season was the 4th best in all of baseball. In 2014, he relied primarily on his fastball and slider (87 mph), while also mixing in a curve (77 mph). He threw his changeup (77 mph) and sinker (97 mph) much less than his other three pitches. He will be more consistent if he relies more on his secondary pitches like his curve, change and sinker so that he will not only be throwing his fastball when he gets in trouble.
It would have been ideal if the Yankees could have kept Martin Prado, who plays well defensively at second, third and outfield and hit .316 with seven homers and 16 RBIs with the Yankees after being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Brian Cashman essentially turned Peter O’Brien into two months of Prado, and then turned Prado and David Phelps into Eovaldi, Jones and German.
Phelps is a pitcher that the Yankees will not miss as they tried to trade him last winter as well. The 28-year-old made his debut for the Yankees in April of 2012 after being drafted in 2008 and has appeared in 87 games and made 40 starts. He has a 4.21 ERA in 299.1 innings and has had ERAs of 4.38 and 4.98 the last two seasons. His WHIP has gotten worse the last two seasons and he basically is a No. 5 pitcher and middle reliever at this point without much upside.
The trade of Prado will initially hurt the Yankees in the infield, as he would have been the starter at second after they re-signed Chase Headley earlier in the week, but it opens up a spot for Rob Refsnyder, who has the ability to be a better overall second baseman eventually than Prado. Refsnyder, who is likely their second baseman of the present and future, could struggle a little in the beginning defensively. However, he is known for his ability with the bat and, after playing outfield in college, his defense his greatly improved.
In the 2014 season, Refsnyder had only three errors in 64 games at second base with the AAA-Scranton RailRiders after committing nine errors in 58 games with the AA-Trenton Thunder. In 2013, he had a combined 25 errors with two levels of A ball, which further proves his defensive development. He has hit well throughout the minors, with a .297 average in 313 games. In 137 games last season, Refsnyder hit .318 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs. This move will allow him to show his talents earlier than if Prado was still on the team. (The Yankees will miss Prado’s defensive versatility since he can play left field, right field, second base and third base.)
German is the second pitcher that the Yankees got in the deal. He is a 22-year old who was #8 on MLB.COM’s Top 10 Marlins prospects list. He has a 2.33 ERA in five seasons, and in 2014 while pitching for Single-A Greensboro in the South Atlantic League, he had an impressive 2.48 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 113 strikeouts in 25 starts. Those stats are impressive even though that league is pitcher friendly. Cashman said that he will probably begin the season with High-A Tampa, and it seems like he could be in the big league rotation in the next two or three seasons. He could be a hidden gem of this trade.
Jones is the third player that the Yankees received and he should further diminish Alex Rodriguez’s role on the team. The 33-year-old didn’t make his MLB debut until he was 25 and didn’t get regular playing time until he was 28 in 2009. He has hit 15 homers or more in each of the past six seasons. His average was only .246 last season, but in 2012, he had a solid all-around season as he had a .274 average with 24 homers and 86 RBIs. He played in 129 games at first base last season, but he can be relied on to play the corner outfield positions as well.
This trade makes the Yankees rotation younger as they will have Masahiro Tanaka (26), Michael Pineda (25), Eovaldi (24) and Ivan Nova (27) all 27 or younger. This move means that they will not be getting Max Scherzer, but if Eovaldi can pitch like he did in 2013, this will prove to be a smart trade. Jones’s ability to play first base and outfield will ensure that the Yankees have a reliable back-up to Mark Teixeira and give them a player with power to put in the outfield since Carlos Beltran will inevitably have to miss time.
Losing Prado is definitely a drawback as he was a plus in the clubhouse and was a player who would do whatever it took to win, but the Eovaldi, Jones and German additions have the ability to help the team win in 2015 and in the future.
Rob Refsnyder, the 23-year-old (he will be 24 in March) second baseman and right fielder who played in Double-A and Triple-A last season, should be the starting second baseman for the Yankees during the 2015 season.
He offers versatility since he played right field at the University of Arizona, but the Yankees drafted him to be a second baseman, and that is where he has played the majority of his games in the minors. In three seasons playing at Charleston, Tampa, Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Refsnyder played 230 games at second, so he has enough experience at the position. After making 25 errors in his first season, he greatly improved defensively in 2014.
In 137 games combined between two levels in 2014, Refsnyder had a .318 average, 14 homers, 63 RBIs, nine steals and 82 runs scored. At AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he played in 77 games and had an impressive .300 average, eight homers, 33 RBIs, 41 walks and 19 doubles. In 64 games playing second base with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he only had three errors, which helped lead to a .988 fielding percentage.
He can obviously handle pitching at AAA and deserves a chance to prove what he can do in the Bronx. Last season, the Yankees went primarily with veterans Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew at second base. That strategy didn’t work since they had one of the worse offensive years from the second base position out of any team last season.
If Refsnyder plays second, the primary position that the Yankees would have to upgrade would be shortstop. As a result of Derek Jeter’s retirement, the Yankees need to sign a relatively young player who can make the routing and web gem worthy play in the field and hit for some power. Hanley Ramirez is the best available option since he will turn 31 on December 23, and hit .283, drove in 71 runs and stole 14 bases last season.
The Yankees can’t bring back Drew next season based on how he performed last season. Drew had a 10.1M salary in 2013, and hit only .162 with 7 HRs and 26 RBIs.
Refsnyder, who was born in South Korea and was adopted by a couple in Southern California when he was three months old, should be able to handle playing second next season because he is not young for a prospect as he will turn 24 on March 26. He has experience playing in big games since he was named the College World Series Most Valuable Player after his University of Arizona team won the College World Series in 2012.
Martin Prado, who was acquired last season before the trade deadline for catching prospect Peter O’Brien and a player to be named later, played well last season in two months with the Yankees. In 37 games, Prado hit .316 with seven homers and 16 RBIs. He played in 17 games at second base and 12 games combined in the outfield. He only made one error in those 29 games. Prado would make sense as the back-up second baseman and starting right fielder with Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Brett Gardner in right.
Another reason that it would make sense for Refsnyder to be the second baseman is that the Yankees need to have more youth in the lineup because they mainly have players 30 or older. Refsnyder will not likely be injury prone, which is a plus, because Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez are all injury related question marks in the infield. A-Rod is officially back on the active roster after his 162-game suspension, and Headley is a player that Brian Cashman should resign.