Five Things to Know about Rob Refsnyder

Image: Ryan Hanigan, Rob Refsnyder
New York Yankees' Rob Refsnyder, right, hits a two-run home run as Boston Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan, left, looks on in the ninth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Sunday, July 12, 2015, in Boston. AP

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By Michael D. Nguyen

Rob Refsnyder has been in headlines as much for being a batting phenom as for his background as a Korean adoptee. After being drafted by the Yankees, he became just the fourth Korean-born athlete to play a position in Major League Baseball. Refsnyder has been winding his way through the minors with impressive hitting and improving defense, and made his majors debut in July.

Here are some things to know about the young ballplayer.

Athleticism runs in the family.

The Korean-born, Southern Californian athlete comes from a competitive family. His father, Clint Refsnyder, stands at 6 feet 8 and played basketball at Muhlenberg College. His older sister, Elizabeth, is also a Korean adoptee and played right field for Kenyon College’s softball team ( Her .295 batting average rivals her younger brother’s.

He’s a hitter.

Refsnyder’s real strength is at the plate. While his first go in the majors, a four-game run in July, averaged a lackluster .167, he did manage a home run. However, Refsnyder averaged .300 while with the minor league team the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. And while at Arizona, Refsnyder averaged an astounding .352 during his junior year at the University of Arizona.

Jul 17, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Rob Refsnyder (64) dives for a single hit by Seattle Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson (not pictured) during the second inning at Yankee Stadium.Brad Penner / Reuters
Baseball is just one of his strengths.

The beefy, 6 feet 1 athlete played soccer in his youth, and excelled in basketball, football, and baseball. Refsnyder was a linebacker and wide receiver, but in his senior year played quarterback, leading his high school team to a local championship.

He's already a baseball champ.

While in school at Arizona, Refsnyder was part of the 2012 roster that won the College World Series title. It would be the first College World Series title for Arizona since 1986. To top it off, Refsnyder was named CWS Most Outstanding Player.

Chris Taylor #1 of the Seattle Mariners steals second base as second baseman Rob Refsnyder #64 of the New York Yankees leaps to catch the throw from catcher Brian McCann #34 during a MLB baseball game Yankee Stadium on July 18, 2015.Rich Schultz / Getty Images
He vowed never to live in South Carolina. And then had to.

Refsnyder’s first assignment after being drafted by the Yankees was in South Carolina, with the Class-A Charleston Riverdogs. Ironically, Refsnyder tweeted some feisty words for the state back in 2012 after some opposing fans made racist remarks during his College World Series appearance. He later apologized for generalizing about the state.