The Dossier on Yankees Outfieldier Ronnier Mustelier
As everyone in the solar system knows, New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson is hurt and going to miss a couple of months. Various names have been dropped to replace him. There might be a trade of course. Johnny Damon volunteered his services, although the Yankees turned that down. Non-roster options are available but less than exciting....Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Jayson Nix, Thomas Neal. Available prospects include Melky Mesa, Ramon Flores, or Zoilo Almonte, although all need more development time in the minors.
I'm rooting for Ronnier Mustelier, who is certainly the most interesting of the available options. Here are his qualifications.
***He has a cool name. "Ronnier Mustelier." That's a lot more interesting than Thomas Neal. It's right up there with fellow Cuban defectors "Yasiel Puig" and "Jorge Soler." Apparently you can't play baseball in Cuba without having a cool name.
***Puig and Soler cost the Dodgers and Cubs a combined $72,000,000 to sign. Mustelier cost the deep-pocket Yankees just $50,000. Irony is cool.
***Mustelier is fun to watch. The first time I saw him play was in the Arizona Fall League a couple of years ago. He made an impression. He was this short stocky guy I'd never heard of with a funny name, but he had bat speed and he hit the shit out of everything.. He hit .344/.354/.516. Yeah, it was the Arizona Fall League.
***But he's hit everywhere else too. He hit .333/.378/.524 in the Florida State League after signing with the Yankees in 2011. He hit .353/.412/.598 in Double-A last year, then .303/.359/.455 in Triple-A. He hit .284/.345/.471 with nine homers and nine steals in 55 games in the Mexican Pacific League this past winter. In 150 professional games, he's hit .324/.378/.497 with 41 doubles, 18 homers, 19 steals, 44 walks, and 85 strikeouts in 595 at-bats.
***He has a nice clean swing with some pop to all fields. He makes contact and does a fair job controlling the strike zone. So far, he hasn't had any problems with professional pitching, and his track record in Cuba was good too.
***Yeah, I know, he's 28. Too old to be a prospect. But that also means you don't have to worry about messing up his long-term development if he doesn't pan out.
***He's 5-10, 210. That's usually a negative...the guy is shorter than ideal and he's not exactly svelte in uniform. But, you know, that's part of the reason why I root for him. He's sneaky fast and can steal a base if you let him. He throws decently, and he's versatile with the glove, seeing time in left field, right field, third base, and second base so far as a pro. He's not great anywhere, but the flexibility is an asset in itself, especially in the age of giant pitching staffs and short benches.
So, c'mon Yankees. Give Ronnier Mustelier a chance!
Ronnier Mustelier shows off his speed by hitting a triple
Ronnier Mustelier takes BP
Ronnier Mustelier hits a home run
He slams into an outfield wall for his team