Now firmly into the top 10 of our Yankees Prospect Watch series, we follow up the piece on RHP James Kaprielian and Domingo Acevedo with another very young and developing player. His name is Miguel Andujar, and he’s a third baseman.
Miguel Andujar was signed for $750,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2011 at just 16 years-old and has since steadily progressed through the minor leagues, making it to Double-A Trenton during the summer of 2016.
Photo: Credit: Donten Photography
Andujar spent 2012 and 2013 in rookie ball where he progressed from a .232/.288/.299 slash line in 2012 to a .323/.368/.496 slash line while adding four home runs and 25 RBI over just 34 games.
2014 saw him in A-ball, while in 2015 and 2016 he was in high-A ball before heading to Trenton in June of 2016.
Photo: Beverly Schaefer The Trenton Times
This past spring Andujar tore up the competition down in Tampa in May and early June slashing .283/.343/.474 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI over 58 games forcing the Yankees to promote him (and upsetting Jorge Mateo which we will cover in the next couple of weeks). Andujar stayed red hot for the rest of June combining between the two levels for a .364/.412/.485 slash line.
But, as I’ve said several times, Double-A is a big challenge for many ballplayers and Andujar struggled mightily in July before rebounding some in August and September. Due to his upside, the Yankees added Miguel to the Arizona Fall League roster where he had a good showing slashing .284/.364/.373 over 19 games.
Some say Miguel got tired as the summer wore on and he was not as sharp in the field late in the year as he has shown in the past. Known for his soft hands and cannon of an arm that some scouts believe would translate into a 95 mph fastball, Andujar charges the ball well but must show some more consistency at the hot corner.
Photo: Beverly Schaefer The Trenton Times
At the dish, Miguel has shown some above average power as proven by his 12 home runs in 2016 to go along with a very respectable 26 doubles and 83 RBI. Interestingly enough, the right handed hitting Andujar has some much better power and overall numbers against right handers and has struggled some against left handers. Miguel makes good adjustments and is learning to read the breaking ball more and more as he continues to develop and move through the minor league system.
As really the only solid third base prospect in the Yankees organization as of right now, Andujar has a chance to push Chase Headley for playing time perhaps as early as late in 2017 or in camp in 2018.
A loyal BYB follower gave his opinion on Headley and Andujar in November stating:
@BleednYankeeBlu I think Headley isn’t getting traded unless Andujar gets to AAA early AND mashes. Mid season at the earliest
While there is still speculation that Headley and others are being shopped, if Chase is on the Opening Day roster, he most likely will command the majority of the playing time at third base more or less by default. If Andujar does mash, and Headley continues his mediocrity, then I think everyone in the organization and Yankees Universe would be thrilled to see Miguel playing third in the Bronx. Time will tell there!
In Photo: Jorge Mateo
But there could be a bit of a hitch to this plan. The Yankees are stacked with SS prospects and have several 2B prospects as well, including Jorge Mateo who they are giving more time at 2B.
The issue with this is that there is speculation that the Yankees could try and utilize Gleyber Torres, or others, at third base this season to build some depth at the hot corner within their system. This could make Andujar a backup type player if overtaken by Torres (who has stated his goal is to make it to New York by September) or any other prospect, or it could give him the kick in the ars he may need to rise to the next level as he fights for his chance to end up in the Bronx.
Photo: Presswire / Gleyber Torres
Andujar isn’t quite the top tier level prospect that Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier currently are, but he is a promising young ball player slightly ahead of where Torres is, but also slightly older as he will be 22 in March.
Once again Andujar is a player to follow this spring and summer. Most of us Yankees fans struggle with watching Chase Headley play third base every day. Jeff Santora for one, not to name drop or anything. Many of us are hoping these young guys force their way to the Bronx sooner rather than later.
The new core four, or five or six is forming and they don’t seem far away!
Next week we will cover the number six Yankees prospect, and a personal favorite of mine, LHP Justus Sheffield. Until then, stay warm and enjoy the NFL playoffs as we are just five weeks away from Spring Training!
BYB ‘Series’ Writer Follow me on Twitter:@DManLucia