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If you made it big in the restaurant business, you got a Chef’s Table.

At Fantasy Alarm we have one too. Expect here you don’t need a reservation. Or a fat stack to pay for it.

The best part about the Chef’s Table is that you get to watch the preparation of your food from start to finish. Seeing every intricate detail that goes into your dish while enjoying the company of family and friends. Well, that’s what I’m gonna give you here.

Each week I will profile a player based on increased street cred throughout the industry. Whether because of a recent hot streak, increased playing time or a promotion because of an injury. From there I will break down the recipe for that player’s success and determine if he is just a flash in the pan or someone who is gonna bring home the bacon.

Today’s Special: Yangervis Solarte

You may not be able to pronounce his name (YAWN-gurr-veess soh-LAHR-tay) but Solarte’s production on the field has made everyone and their mother take a stab at it. Following a productive spring (.429 BA w/ 2 HR and 9 RBI), manager Joe Girardi decided to promote Solarte in favor of clubhouse favorite Eduardo Nunez prior to last Tuesday’s season opener. What happened next was not expected, not even by Solarte himself.

Through 23 plate appearances, Solarte has compiled nine hits (four extra-base hits) with six RBI while being retired by strikes only once. When watching him at the plate, he looks more like a savvy veteran than a first-year big leaguer, having quickly transformed into a clutch-hitter at the bottom of the Yankees’ order.

Originally signed by the Twins organization, Solarte spend his entire career prior to 2014 in the minor leagues, where he posted a .286 average with 41 bombs and 312 RBI over eight seasons in both the Twins and Rangers farm systems. Although never regarded as a top prospect, he was able to succeed at all minor league levels, but was never given the opportunity to take his game to the big leagues. However, at this point it is highly unlikely he will ever find himself riding buses to games ever again.

Here are a few things that I really like about this youngster:

  • He is 6-for-11 with three doubles and five RBI with runners on base. (Small sample size, but he will continue to be put in these types of situations considering his surrounding cast.)
  • His switch-hitting ability gives the Yankees more incentive to get him in the starting lineup.
  • Solarte has the ability to play not only third base, but also can be utilized at second base and shortstop which is going to lead to multiple position eligibility down the road.
  • The Yankees have the fifth-highest on-base percentage in the American League, meaning more opportunities for Solarte to continue his recent production, despite being slotted at the bottom of the order.

It was announced Saturday that Mark Teixeira will be placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a hamstring strain, meaning fellow infielder Kelly Johnson will take over the reigns at first base. This opens the door for the hot-hitting Solarte to continue manning the hot corner, although it would have been difficult to take him out of the lineup regardless of the current situation.

Depending on your fantasy league host, Solarte currently has eligibility at shortstop or outfield, but a few more games at third base and that could be added to the list for the remainder of the season. Considering the drop off of third base options, once eligible at that position, he will currently become someone worth targeting in mixed league formats and AL-only leagues alike.

The Wrap-Up

It is far too early in the season to go all-in on Solarte after just 23 at-bats, but I’m really likin’ what I’m seein’ so far. Here’s a guy that two teams practically gave up on and now he is a starter in one of the most potent offenses in all of baseball. Some people would say that his slot in the order devalues him a bit, but not me. It isn’t like he is the eighth hitter in a National League lineup, knowing that if you get on base there is only a slim chance of you crossing home plate with the pitcher due up next.  So let’s not be nitpicky folks.

Solarte is streakin’ right now and will have plenty of time to make a case for a permanent gig. Will that happen? Who knows, but one thing is for sure; he is outperforming both Johnson and Brian Roberts, so there is going to be a throw down for at-bats once Teixeira is ready to return from injury. Plus both Roberts and Derek Jeter aren’t the healthiest of players at this point in their careers, so there is a good chance he will see action at shortstop and second base at some point this season.

Those in AL-only leagues NEED to add this guy right now if he hasn’t been already considering the unique combination of position eligibility that is on its way once he gets a few more starts at the hot corner. Depending on your needs, Solarte will continue to be a solid contributor in runs, RBI and batting average, making him a nice pickup in mixed leagues as well. Just don’t expect his current production to translate into eventual home run power (61.9 AB/HR in the minors.) down the road.

Until next time, study hard and eat plenty!