Refsnyder Going About His Work

Rob Refsnyder had another great season in 2014, hitting a combined .318 with 58 extra-base hits at the two highest minor league levels. Despite his success though, he still hasn't gotten that long awaited big league call-up. Neither upset nor disappointed, he just continues to go about his work and he is already getting ready for the 2015 season.

"It went pretty well," he said of his season. "There were some things I would have liked to be better on but overall the year was pretty good. You know it's tough losing a lot. We lost in Trenton and in Scranton so that was tough and that's never fun but overall it was a good experience. I feel like kind of a veteran now."

Looking like a veteran and certainly acting like one, he took to the task entering the season of improving his ability to impact the baseball and he did just that, increasing his slugging percentage from .413 the year prior to .497 and setting a career-high .884 OPS.

"I hit a lot of extra-base hits and that was kind of my focus going into the year, driving the ball more and making more of an impact that way," he said. "That was my game plan and I stuck with it all year. I had those discussions with P.J. [Pilittere] and Marcus [Thames] in the offseason [last year] of trying to impact the baseball a bit more."

And just like a veteran would, it just wasn't a goal for the sake of having a goal. He wanted to make those improvements and he made sure he was going to be as prepared as possible to achieve that goal by putting in a ton of work last offseason.

He reported to camp this past Spring Training noticeably stronger, adding roughly 15 pounds of muscle last offseason, and looking back he can't help but believe the hard work paid off for him in 2014.

"Definitely, I take my offseason very seriously," he stoically insisted. "I am already getting going right now. Yeah I think it helped [last year], just the preparation and the mindset that I take into the offseasons. It's very important to me so it definitely helped."

Not only was he physically prepared but he mentally entered the season with the goal in mind of consistently trying to be a bit more aggressive. Known for his patient approach at the plate and advanced pitch recognition, he wanted to be a little less passive, a little more aggressive, and learn to attack better pitches in the name of driving the ball more consistently.

"Definitely, what I wanted to focus on the most was swinging at pitches that I felt I could hit for extra bases, honing in on my strengths and letting some pitches down in the zone go that maybe in the past I would have swung at, and just being more selective.

"I struck out a bit more this year but what I was focusing on was letting some pitches go. Yeah sometimes I'd get down 0-2 but they were pitches I didn't want but I was able to spoil some pitches I didn't want and things like that. It's something I'll work on more this offseason and hopefully [now] this is part of my game for years to come."

He put in a ton of work defensively at second base too and, despite getting in some reps in right field late in the year in Scranton in case the Yankees needed to call on his bat with injuries to some of their outfielders, he feels like a true second baseman.

"Definitely," he insisted. "It's something that comes with time obviously but I feel great. I love trying to get better everyday and it's the goal this offseason and for years to come, to get better. I'm pretty pumped."

Different than most players, it's the hard work that excites Refsnyder. He simply wants to continually improve every aspect of his game and he doesn't want to be out-worked by anyone. So while it may have been a little disappointing not getting that precious call-up to the big leagues late in the season, he chooses to continue to go about his work for that inevitable time.

"Disappointment probably isn't the right word," he said. "You don't have any control over it and at the end of the day you put in all of the hard work and all you can ask for is being presented with the opportunity.

"I'm just going to go about my work. I can't really speculate or worry about the future because I have a lot of things that I have to do today, tomorrow, and the next day. I'm just going to put in my work and trust the people that I train with, just play baseball and have a good time doing it. If there's opportunity at the end of the road, great. If not, then you just have to keep working hard."

Working hard has never been his problem and the smart money says it never will be. He is already training hard this offseason in preparation for the 2015 season. He has moved to Miami this offseason to avoid any distractions from being around friends and family with the goal of once again being better the next season than the year prior.

"You only have a certain amount of time to play professional baseball and I want to make the most out of it. Living down here in Miami there aren't a whole lot of distractions by too many friends and such. I don't know too many people here and I love it.

"I think there's a lot of room for improvement everywhere and everyday I have a checklist, and I'm going to do it to the best of my abilities. That's just who I am and how I'm built, and I'm excited," he concluded.


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