It doesn’t always seem like the San Diego Padres need infielder Yangervis Solarte, and it can be frustrating to watch him struggle. But the reality is that his versatility is still his greatest asset, and it’s a good reason to appreciate him.
Yangervis Solarte is one of the most valuable members of the Padres, even if fans expected a little bit more from him statistically in 2017. Hitting .265 with 13 home runs and 47 driven in, it has been a pedestrian campaign for the 30-year-old.
His average stats in his first year of a large contract put him off of the radar a little bit. Right now, fans seem more likely to notice players like Manuel Margot, Jose Pirela, and Carlos Asuaje. This is perfectly understandable. But let’s not lose sight of Solarte’s value. Among many assets, quite possibly his best is his defensive versatility.
Solarte’s reliability is one reason he remains a vital part of the team. Playing in 98 games this season, the infielder has remained consistent throughout, even when he seems to struggle. This may contribute to why San Diego fans often times forget he’s there, or take him for granted. It’s easy to, but it should never happen.
It was quite the unusual occurrence when Solarte and fellow infielder Cory Spangenberg swapped positions midseason. Solarte moved over to second, while Spangenberg took his place at the hot corner. But the move didn’t phase Solarte, who actually has a higher batting average as a second baseman by 39 points.
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Maybe the move was good for Solarte, or maybe he’s just the same player at all four infield positions. Considering the fact that he has played a minimum of five games at each infield position, it seems that his versatility should be credited for this. Solarte has played the vast majority of the time at second, appearing in 72 games. But with ten under his belt at short and third, and five as a first baseman, Solarte has proven that he can do it all.
The value of a player like this is difficult to measure. It’s certainly greater than what his .265 batting average would indicate. As a player who can fill in anytime, anywhere without impacting his game in the slightest, Solarte is going to be useful for the long term.
So before considering the San Diego second baseman as an overpaid disappointment, look beyond the stats and think about Solarte’s overall value. His clutch .317 hitting with runners in scoring position as well as his defensive versatility are factors which puts him up there with other possible team MVPs.