Jays From the Couch brings you the player Highlights & Lowlights of the 2018 season. This time: Yangervis Solarte
Shaun Doyle kicked off the 2018 player highlights & lowlights with a look at Devon Travis (full article), next we take a peek at the up and down season of Yangervis Solarte. It appeared the aim of the previous offseason was twofold, first, increase positional versatility, second, increase offensive production off the bench. enter Solarte.
The Toronto Blue Jays acquired the (at the time) 30-yr-old utility players from the San Diego Padres for minor league outfielder Edward Olivares and reliever Jared Carkuff in January. Not bad price for an established Major League player. Olivares was going off a breakout season at A-Ball and Carkuff made it to Triple-A in 2017. Olivares spent 2018 at Advanced-A, batting .277 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 12 HR, and 21 SB while Carkuff was released on May 31st.
Solarte played over 100 games
in the previous three seasons, averaging over a .260 batting average, 25 doubles, and 15 HR while playing in the pitcher friendly NL West. The expectations were that a move to the hitter-friendly AL East would provide Solarte’s number with a nice little bump.
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Expected to play the utility role, spelling infielders and the odd outfielder, Solarte was thrust into a starting role with an injured Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and Devin Travis (less so Travis). He did a fine job of that.
The 5-foot-11 native of Valencia, Venezuela pounded out 7 home runs in March/April. He hit four over the wall in May and June. Yangervis batted .250, .264, and .252 over the first 3 three months of the season. Then the wheels fell off his season…we will get to that.
The versatile Solarte played 80 games at 3rd base, 28 games at 2nd base, 6 games at SS, 7 as the DH, and a pair of games over at 1st base. He hit 13 of his 17 HR while manning the hot corner but batted just .199. While he only hit one HR during his time at 2nd base, Solarte managed to hit for a .305 batting average.
In 38 games batting out of the cleanup spot, Solarte hit .290 with 7 doubles, 10 HR, and 27 RBI. The switch-hitter batted better at the Dome (.246 with 12 HR) than on the road (.207 with 5 HR).
On June 15th, Solarte hit a pair of home runs, driving in 3 runs against the Washington Nationals. He drove in 6 runs in Cleveland on May 3rd, going 5-for-7 (also a season high) with a double, a home run, and three singles.
His longest hit streak was 7 games and the longest on-base streak was 13 games.
For me, the lowest lowlight has to be the issue with not running out groundballs. Most of us can stomache a bad month (July: .151 2HR in 24 GP) when it comes from a blue collared Johnny Hustle type player but not from a guy who jogs out groundballs.
Solarte didn’t set one career hi….in a positive way. His -0.7 WAR was the first time he produced a negative WAR, a 2.0 WAR drop off from 2017 (1.3 WAR). His 6.1 BB% and 14.2 K%, .152 ISO, and .284 wOBA were all lower than his previous years.
Solarte produced his lowest totals in hits, doubles, and RBI since his rookie season in 2014. He finished with a career low in OBP and OPS. Despite swinging at more pitches in the strike zone (75.6%), Solarte set a new career low by swinging at 41.4% pitches outside the strike zone. His 8.6 SwStr% represents a new career low while he matched his career low of 84.1 Contact%.
In the field, the Blue Jays utility player posted a woeful -.63 UZR at 3rd base and -1.4 UZR while also posting a new low of -5 DRS at 2nd base and matching his previous low of -3 DRS at 3rd base.
The longest Yangervis Solarte went without hitting a home run was 27 games and he went 19 games without driving in a run.
Solarte will be playing in the Major Leagues next season, it just won’t be with the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only because of a poor 2nd half, his lack of hustle, or that fact he is set to make 5.5M if Toronto picks up the club option but because Toronto now has several other cheaper and younger options.
The season Aledmys Diaz had at the plate and his newly discovered ability to play a superior, to Solarte, 3rd base has made Solarte expendable. The development of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Richard Urena has made Solarte expensive and expendable.
It is possible that Toronto picks up the club option with the hopes of flipping him to another team for a low-level prospect, which is what the Padres did to Toronto. The FO could also decide to hold onto Solarte, deal Diaz while his value is high, and use him strictly as a bench guy with Gurriel Jr. assuming more at-bats or the starting SS role. After all, he was brought in to replace Darwin Barney who produced a -0.8 WAR with a .232 BA and 6 HR in his final year in a Blue Jays uniform….mission accomplished.
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.