With a roster crunch looming in the Bronx, has Miguel Andujar earned the right to be the New York Yankees starting third basemen?
When third baseman Brandon Drury was forced to the DL with a migraine/blurred vision issue on April 7th, rookie Miguel Andujar took over his starting position and now, he may never look back.
The 23-year-old’s 12 doubles so far leads not only the team but the MLB. Last week he became one of three Yankees, 23-years-old or younger, to have seven consecutive games with an extra-base hit, joining Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. His .566 Slugging Percentage would rank in the top 12 if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
While much can be said about Andujar’s impact at the dish, he has not suffered in the field. Coming into the season many scouts didn’t believe that Andujar would be able to field his position in the majors. Throughout 159 innings so far this season at third base he has committed only two errors and has looked plenty capable at the hot corner.
What Andujar has done this season is the most that you can ask for from a rookie. He’s played a solid third base and add that to his instant production with the bat and it’s hard to understand why anyone would decide to put him on the bench right now.
Now, where does Brandon Drury fit into all of this? During three seasons in Arizona, Drury played all over the field spending more than 30 games at second, third, right field and left field. He spent the majority of his time at second base with over 1000 innings. Second base is the only position in which he has posted a zero or below in defensive runs saved, with four. Unfortunately for Drury, second base is no longer open for the taking after the Yankees promoted their top prospect Gleyber Torres over a week ago. This was not a temporary call-up, Torres has shown everybody that he has All-Star potential with his quick hands both at the plate and in the field.
With second base taken, Drury’s versatility is hindered a little bit, but the fact that he can play those positions should bode well for him during the looming roster crunch, should he not be the starting third basemen.
As for his bat, when Cashman finalized the trade to acquire Drury in February, there was a belief that like Didi Gregorius, there was a lot of untapped potential. Throughout the first four games of the season, it looked like Cashman was right again as the newly acquired 25-year-old was hitting .385 while showing off his power with a two home run game. The early success quickly faded as his next four games he went without a hit.
Preparing for a return to the Bronx, Drury has appeared in five games during a rehab stint with Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and has hit well recording seven hits. With the good comes the bad, as Drury committed three errors in one game last Monday.
Brian Cashman might not have been comfortable with two rookies in the infield to begin the season but he has to feel better as he’s watched both Andujar and Torres show off their world-class talent. If Andujar can continue his great play both offensively and defensively, Drury might be out of a starting position for the time being. Drury’s defensive versatility will guarantee himself a roster spot, however finding playing time might be tough. Andujar’s potential is simply too high and his production has been too good to be benched in favor of Drury.
These things always seem to play themselves out, but for now, Miguel Andujar should be the Yankees starting third basemen.