In their neverending pursuit of talent, the Yankees have purchased third baseman Yurendell DeCaster from the Fargo-Morehead Red Hawks of the independent Northern League. The amount they paid for him isn’t known, but they’ve assigned him to Triple-A Scranton, who currently lacks an everyday third basemen since Justin Leone is out with a hamstring issue. If you’re like me and the name sounds familiar but you can’t remember where you heard it, it’s probably because he played for the Netherlands in the latest installment of the World Baseball Classic.
DeCaster was the best player in the Northern League this year, leading the league in hits (54), doubles (14), homeruns (13), RBI (43) and SLG (.682). He also hit for average (.344) and drew his fair share of walks (.401 OBP). Red Hawks manager Doug Simunic said DeCaster was the best player to come through the league in a long time. He spent 2008 in the Nationals system, hitting .262-.344-.445 in 104 games, mostly in Triple-A. Still just 29 years old, DeCaster made a cameo with the Pirates in 2006 for his only big league action, fashioning a shiny -100 OPS by striking out in his only two plate appearances.
With experience all over the field, including time at first, second, third, and the corner outfield spots, perhaps DeCaster carves out a nice career as a bench player/right-handed hitting half of a platoon. Mo knows the Yankees could use a guy like that right now. Obviously you don’t expect the guy to continue hitting like he had at the Triple-A level, but you never know. Maybe he’s just a late bloomer, Nelson Cruz style.
Having landed Edwar Ramirez, Scott Patterson and several others out of the independent leagues in recent years, it’s nice to see the team continue to look for talent in non-traditional sources.