Obscure Former Pittsburgh Pirates: Yamaico Navarro
By Noah Wright
One of the many obscure players to have a very short stint with the early-2010s Pittsburgh Pirates is utility man Yamaico Navarro
The Pittsburgh Pirates had a lot of players in the early-2010s that came and went without a sound. You had some guy who stuck around a little longer than others like Lyle Overbay, Erik Bedard, and Octavio Dotel. You had others who made a brief cameo like Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee. But among the sea of Pirates (no pun intended), there have been plenty of obscure names. Today’s obscure Pirates player we will be looking at is Yamcio Navarro.
Yamcio Navarro was originally an international signee by the Boston Red Sox back in 2005. Navarro’s two best seasons were in 2008 and 2010. In 2008, he batted .304/.359/.447 with a .363 wOBA. The infielder walked 41 times in 557 plate appearances (7.4% walk rate) and struck out at a in 18.5% of his trips to the plate. Two years later in 2010, Navarro slashed .275/.356/.437 with an improved 10.7% walk rate and 13.5% strikeout rate.
Navarro, although never a top prospect, made his debut later that season, but performed poorly. He collected just six hits with 17 strikeouts in 42 plate appearances. Yamaico opened 2011 with the Red Sox, but was then traded to the Kansas City Royals for utility man Mike Aviles. Navarro’s tenure in Kansas only lasted six games as he was then sent to the Pirates the following offseason for Diego Goris and Brooks Pounders.
Brought in as a depth utility man, Navarro spent most of his season at Triple-A where he was a .279/.366/.491 batter with a 12.5% walk rate and 16% strikeout rate through 257 plate appearances. His strong contributions for Indy earned him a late season call-up, but he performed poorly, only slashing .160/.232/.220 through 56 plate appearances. Those 56 times Navarro stepped to the dish in black and gold would be the only times Navarro would play for the Pirates.
During the off-season, the Pirates then traded him to the Baltimore Orioles for Jhondaniel Medina. The Orioles would be the last team the utility man would play for in the big leagues, only appearing in eight games. The New York Yankees picked him up on a minor league deal in November 2013, but was released in late-December the same year. That was the last of Navarro with affiliated teams, and he headed over to South Korea for the next two years.
Navarro performed exceptionally well in Korea. During his first season with the Samsung Lions, he batted .308/.417/.552 with 31 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He also walked (96) more often than he struck out (71) in 602 plate appearances. He followed that up with a .287/.393/.596 performance the next season. This time around, he upped his home run total to 48 while swiping 22 more bases. Once again, he drew more walks (93) than strikeouts (72) in 643 plate appearances.
After 2015, Navarro spent a year in the Japan League and has since bounced around the Dominican Winter League and Mexican League. While it’s been nearly a decade since he’s had a contract with a major league ballclub, he’s still active in professional baseball. He spent this past offseason playing in the Dominican Winter League and the Caribbean Series.