The Red Sox are selecting the contract of utility player Rob Refsnyder, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive. A corresponding move will be required in order to create a spot on the 40-man roster for him. Additionally, the club announced it has reinstated right-hander Hansel Robles from the IL and optioned fellow righty Phillips Valdez in a corresponding move.
Signed to a minor league deal in the offseason, Refsnyder joined the big league club earlier this year but was designated as a Covid substitute and therefore was able to be removed from the roster without being exposed to waivers. He got into three games in April before being returned to the minors. He’s having a monster season in Triple-A through 42 games on the season, with a batting line of .306/.429/.524. That amounts to a wRC+ of 156, or 56% better than the league average hitter.
If Refsnyder, 31, can carry anything resembling that type of production to the big leagues, it would be a tremendous boon to the team and his own career numbers. In 235 MLB games to this point, he’s hit .226/.312/.312 for a wRC+ of 72. However, even if he doesn’t hit at an elite level, he’ll at least provide the team with some positional versatility. He’s spent time at first, second and third base as well as all three outfield positions in his career, though he’s only played in the outfield for Worcester this year.
The club hasn’t gotten much offensive production out of its outfield this year. Franchy Cordero, Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Arroyo each have a wRC+ between 55 and 95 on the year, indicating that they’ve all been hitting at below-average rates on the season. Enrique Hernandez, recently placed on the IL, also fits this bill with a wRC+ of 73 on the year.
As for Robles, he was dealing with back spasms and last pitched on May 22. He was off to a good start to the year before hitting the IL, throwing 17 innings with a 2.65 ERA. Their might have been some good fortune in there, however, as his 16.2% strikeout rate was well below his career rate of 25.3% and his .188 BABIP was nowhere near his .279 career number.