Yangervis Solarte is tearing it up for the New York Yankees. Never heard of him? I didn’t think so. He is the Yankee replacement for Alex Rodriguez at 3B and the way this ball player is playing, everyone is saying, “Alex Who?” in Yankee Stadium. Funny thing is, this guy has been banging around the minor and the major leagues for 8 years playing at any position he is told and has never done anything of substance.
This is Yangervis Solarte 39th game playing for the Yankees, and his stats have been mind blowing: .313 batting average, 5 Hrs, 24 RBIs, 17 BB, 17 SOs, OBP of .387 and and OPS of .887 as compiled by ESPN Baseball stats. He is currently 5th in the American league in Batting average and 8th in OPS. If you aren’t familiar with OPS, it is a sabermetrics stat that is the sum of a hitter’s on-base percentage and his slugging percentage. The numbers he is posting are startling and you have to wonder if this 8 year “bang around the minors” player found anything in “A-Roid’s” locker that might be contributing to this aberration. One thing about baseball, it is statistically factual and abhors anomalies. That doesn’t mean they don’t occur, they are just rare.
Does everyone remember a few years ago there was a NBA player for the Knicks that came off the benched and proceeded to put up “Michael Jordan” numbers. CBS 60 Minutes told his tale and this is a brief summary of that show His name was Jeremy Lin, this Asian basketball player who didn’t get any college scholarships, went to Harvard University where they did guarantee a spot on the team but Ivy league schools don’t give scholarships. Graduating Harvard, Lin didn’t get any offers from any NBA team and didn’t get drafted. So, he plays the summer league and by the end of the summer has a contract with the Golden State Warriors. In 2011, the Knicks claim Jeremy Lin off of waivers as a backup for Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby. One February, the Knicks are losing horribly and the New York Knicks coach, Mike D’Antoni decides to play Jeremy Lin,some garbage time minutes, and he turns the game around and they win. Intrigued, D’Antoni decides to start him and he averages 25 points, 5 Rebounds and 7 assists as a point guard which are pretty amazing numbers. D’Antoni is amazed and starts him again. Same thing happens, huge stat line. He stayed in the lineup till sustaining season ending injury and in those 26 games he averaged 18.5 points and 7.6 assists. Everyone in New York and pretty much the entire basketball community new this guy’s name and the expression “Lin-sanity” was born.
The Lin-sanity of Baseball
So, is Yangervis Solarte the Lin-sanity of baseball? Has he made a deal with the devil and sold his soul? Can he sustain this pace or is he just a flash in the pan or will he soon come crashing back to reality? Baseball can be cruel like that where a player can do no wrong for a month, and then bam, in a slump he goes for a year. For some players the game just slows down, the baseball looks the size of a grapefruit, and the player just crushes everything. Maybe the 8 years banging around baseball gave him a maturity. One where he understands the game and has developed the ability to remain patient at bat. That’s the key to any successful baseball player, plate discipline. His 17 walks suggest he is being patient. We will know soon enough if he is a shooting star or the Lin-sanity of baseball that is here to stay. This is what makes baseball America’s pastime. Jeremy Lin had a movie made about his rise from no nob player to star called “Linsanity.”
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