Blue Jays: Don’t sleep on Yangervis Solarte
The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres to be more than just spare parts, look for the utility player to have a breakout season north of the border in 2018.
Yangervis Solarte is a late bloomer having only four MLB season’s under his belt even though he is poised to turn 31 this July. Solarte made his debut with the New York Yankees but was then shipped to San Diego in the midst of his rookie campaign in exchange for Chase Headley.
During his tenure with the Padres, Solarte was forced to overcome the ultimate tragedy losing his wife and the mother of his two young daughters to cancer. The native of Venezuela has had to trudge on the diamond while his life outside of baseball fell apart.
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Amidst it all, Solarte has still managed to put up respectable power numbers hitting in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks on the planet. The switch-hitter has stroked 22 of his 57 career homers at Petco Park in San Diego.
Last season Solarte hit 16 of his 18 homers to right field, 8 of which came on his home turf. The right field dimensions at Petco Park are 382 feet and increase to 391 feet in the alleys. Compare that to the homer-friendly confines of the Rogers Centre where it is 328 feet down the right-field line and 375 feet in the power alleys. Solarte is in for a power surge hitting in the AL East band boxes as opposed to the cavernous parks in the NL West.
Aside from the defensive versatility that Solarte will provide his manager, this is a solid albeit underrated pickup by the Blue Jays front office. If you peruse Solarte’s Instagram feed you can see he is committed to conditioning and also his family often incorporating the two together.
Solarte is a character type player and was well liked by his Padres teammates who supported him through good times and bad. Look for him to make an immediate impact and quickly become a fan favourite of the Jays faithful.
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Solarte is my breakout candidate on the Jays squad for 2018 and I honestly think 30 homers is not out of the realm of possibilities. You’re not in Petco anymore, Yangervis.