Mustelier (above) could be a starter on April 1.
The New York Yankees need a spark.
Yes, Robinson Cano has a dynamite swing and he is a silky smooth defender. Yes, the veterans such as Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki are still solid players.
Overall though Cano is more a star than a spark, and Jeter and Ichiro are your typical consistent veterans.
Ronnier Mustelier provides a spark for the Yankee lineup.
Thus far in spring training we have seen both Mustelier and Juan Rivera compete for spots on the opening day roster.
But Musty deserves a spot over Rivera more than one reason aside from being able to be a spark in the bottom of the lineup.
Here is why.
Don’t get me wrong, Rivera can hit pretty well.
Over his 12-year career, Rivera has an average of .274 and he has hit double-digit home runs in four of the past five seasons.
But Mustelier has a great bat.
Moving throughout the Yankees minor league system over the past two seasons, Musty has a .324 average and a .378 on base percentage.
Mustelier has gotten the opportunities this spring mainly because of his bat.
Rivera is a veteran who can hit, but Mustelier is a younger player with a live swing.
Although Mustelier has played mostly outfield for New York’s minor league teams over the past two seasons, he also can play third base.
Mustelier has said that he played third in Cuba, and he has been seeing increasing amounts of time there with Mark Teixeira’s injury.
Rivera also plays multiple positions as a corner outfielder and first baseman.
But Mustelier brings a different style of play than Rivera does.
Mustelier’s intensity and hard style of play is far different than that of the veteran Rivera.
Overall Mustelier is younger and a little more athletic than Rivera in the field.
That combined with a play hard style puts Mustelier ahead of Rivera for me.
As mentioned in the previous slide, Mustelier brings a certain intensity that New York has been lacking especially with Jeter still slightly hobbled.
This isn’t to say other players for New York aren’t playing hard, but Mustelier simply hustles and plays hard all the time.
Energy can provide a lot for a team, especially a team full of older players.
The opening slide suggests (more like insists) that Musty provides a spark, and that comes directly from his energy.
Running into a wall for a catch or stretching a single into a double is the kind of hustle play that can make a difference and bring a team together.
This type of energy is provided by Mustelier can be an asset to manager Joe Girardi’s aging team.
For Mustelier, being in big league camp is a whole new experience.
Over the past two years Mustelier has worked his way from the Tampa Yankees up to Triple-A Scranton.
Now with an opportunity to experience the next step, Mustelier has shown he is giving his all.
Unlike Rivera, a veteran who has done it all before, Mustelier still hasn’t reached the big show.
This new experience might yield bigger results than Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are anticipating.
Seeing as Mustelier hit greater than .300 with a .815 OPS in the Triple-A, it isn’t unlikely that his success can carry over.
For Mustelier, this new experience will force him to not get comfortable or sit back because it’s so new to him.