One of the most beautiful things about baseball is watching undrafted ballplayers emerge from relative anonymity to help their big clubs to victory.
If Yankees second base prospect Ronnier Mustelier keeps hitting the way he has been, he may very well achieve the same.
A late-bloomer by big-league prospect standards, this 27-year-old has excelled at every minor league level since defecting from Cuba in the summer of 2011.
At 5'10", 210 lbs., Mustelier has displayed a smooth compact swing and patient approach at the plate in making his march toward Yankee Stadium.
In 36 games shared between the Gulf Coast League and Florida State League last year, Mustelier batted .356 with three home runs, 14 doubles and 27 RBI. His OBP/SLG/OPS was .397/.527/.925.
Mustelier has continued his tear this season. At Double-A Trenton, Mustelier hit .353 with five homers and 20 RBI in 25 games for the Thunder (.412/.598/1.010). Impressively, Mustelier also had two clutch ninth inning, game-winning home runs in a series against the Portland Sea Dogs on May 4. This was enough to help Mustelier earn Eastern League Player of the Week Honors.
Not too shabby for a guy adjusting to life in America.
Now at Triple-A, Mustelier has continued to hit well. While his .299 batting average through 25 games is nowhere near as gaudy as before, Mustelier has nonetheless maintained solid stats for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Currently, Mustelier has a respectable .333/.485/.818 line with four home runs, 17 RBI and six doubles.
Defensively, Mustelier is primarily a second baseman. However, he has also played third base and every outfield position.
With All-Star Robinson Cano playing second base for the Yankees, Mustelier’s ability to play multiple positions bodes well for him once he gets to the show.
At the end of the day, what I like most about Mustelier (besides his work ethic) is that he provides yet another example of a shift in mindset by Yankees brass regarding how it grows its franchise.
While the team that once went on lavish spending sprees to acquire major free agents was fun to watch, it is nice to see the Yankees not drain their minor league system to achieve this end.