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The Royals should look at Yankees second baseman Rob Refsnyder

Let's really make it an open competition.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While the sun beats down on the hot fields of Arizona, tanning the exposed necks of MLB players daily, the Royals have three (maybe four - if you count Cheslor Cuthbert) players vying for the starting second base job. Those names are former first rounder but overall disappointing Christian Colón, journeyman-esque Whit Merrifield, and young spark plug Raúl Mondesí. If the Royals feel Mondesí needs more seasoning in the minors after he was overwhelmed last year, Merrifield and Colón would battle it out in a competition of who can put up a better than 80 wRC+ in 2017.

Rumors are abound a bit that the Royals may be looking at bringing in the fallen from grace Bret Lawrie, and that's possible if they want outside competition. I've got another candidate if we get a little dirty here and we can really open this competition up - Rob Refsnyder.

Refsnyder is reportedly on the block by the Yankees as they have other internal options and let me sell you on him a bit.

First, Refsnyder would instantly become the top candidate for the Royals for the second base job:

Refsnyder, despite his poor hitting so far in the majors, projects to be an average hitter in the majors. This is based on his strong track record of hitting in the minors:

Refsynder posted strong walk rates and overall results in the minors and demonstrated average or so power. His game is making contact and controlling the zone.

Two years ago in AAA, Refsnyder was one of the best at making contact when he swung:

He also comes with positional flexibility, the same way as Whit Merrifield does. Refsnyder has spent time at 1B, 2B, 3B, LF, and RF.

Yeah there are some small sample sizes here but the above is just MLB innings. If you look at innings in the minors he's spent 800 in the outfield with decent results.

Refsynder was once a top prospect in the Yankees system and among all second basemen. In 2015 he was ranked their fourth best prospect, one spot ahead of super-catcher Gary Sanchez. Among his fellow second basemen he was rated the sixth best in all of baseball. The upside isn't gigantic and he never made a top 100 list but he's been ranked highly enough that a league average everyday player isn't that far of a stretch.

There is a negative though. Despite posting okay power numbers in the minors and having average raw power, it hasn't translated to the majors at all. He had the fifth-lowest isolated slugging (more like isolated struggling) last year in the majors (min. 175 PA). Let me give you a counter point to that:

The low power wasn't due to exit velocity. Refsnyder had basically average exit velocities similar to Jay Bruce, Lorenzo Cain, Dustin Pedroia, and Wil Myers. Bruce, Myers, and Pedroia have all hit 20+ home runs in a season before. So what's the issue with Refsnyder not accessing his power? It's a tale we are all familiar with. Much like Eric Hosmer, Refsnyder has a low launch angle:

A slight uplift in launch angle could turn Eric Hosmer into an MVP and Rob Refsnyder into an average power hitter in the majors. Even without the power, Refsnyder still projects to be a league average hitter due to his plate discipline. Adding a boost in power might cut into his contact a bit but there is room to spare.

The acquisition cost for Refsnyder wouldn't be much (likely similar to what it would take a team to acquire Cheslor Cuthbert) and the upgrade would be immediate for a team looking for one last year of contention. I don't think Refsnyder is a star but instead a potentially cost controlled everyday second baseman. Maybe that is what Whit Merrifield is too, but Refsnyder's probability for that seems to be much greater.