Solarte, who has easily been the surprise of the season thus far along with Masahiro Tanaka, is putting up numbers nobody could have imagined. Coming into the game on Saturday, Solarte sports a .326 average with four homers, 23 RBI and a .403 OBP.
How many teams can say a guy hitting six through nine in their batting order is leading the ballclub in average, RBI and OBP?
Perhaps one of the biggest positives for Solarte in 2014 has been his plate discipline. Solarte has shown patience and the ability to work counts, which is likely why he's enjoyed some much success. He's even drawing walks more often than he did in the minors.
That kind of approach in the batter's box is exactly what the Bronx Bombers have been about: making pitchers work to throw strikes and running up pitch counts in order to get to the opposing team's bullpen early.
If Solarte were to move up, there will be an odd man out (Check out Solarte's bat flip of the year below).
Brian McCann is the greatest candidate to take a slide down the batting order. McCann is hitting just .224 as a career .274 hitter and while he has produced some runs with 15 RBI, he's hitting just .222 with runners in scoring position. Alfonso Soriano has done much of the same as he's hitting just .248 with 16 RBI and is hitting an abysmal .167 with runners in scoring position.
By comparison, Solarte has been fantastic with runners in scoring position with a .353 average and 20 of his 23 RBI have come in that situation. That is exactly the kind of production New York needs in the middle of its order.
Coming into Saturday's contest, Solarte has only three at-bats batting fifth and that's the highest he's been in the lineup this season. It's safe to say he at least deserves more plate appearances batting No. 5 or maybe even higher.
While it's understandable that manager Joe Girardi may want to take his time with the rookie and not put too much pressure on Solarte just yet, moving him up could do wonders for the Yanks' offense and Solarte as well, who would have much more protection with better hitters behind him.
The jury is still out on whether the youngster is for real, but out of necessity Solarte should find a more important role with the team on offense, but not only because the Yanks need it, but because Solarte has earned it.
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