3B Miguel Andujar
Andujar is known to have the best infield arm in the Yankees’ system. His defensive struggles of the past seemed to have stemmed from footwork and consistency. However, all reports suggest that Miguel has improved enough that defense no longer holds him back.
Perhaps the best evidence is that both Cash and Hal Steinbrenner have spoken openly about those improvements.
The two are normally stoic and reserved, knowing it is often a mistake to build up a rookie in New York. So when they go out of their way like that, they are saying they are satisfied and ready for him to play in the Bronx.
That doesn’t mean he enters SP with a job; it means he now has the skills to be considered for the job. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at third on Opening Day.
There are those who think the Yankees would not start two rookies in the infield, but I think that is exactly the type of dynamic thinking Boonie brings to the table.
Reason to Believe
Miguel slashed .315/.352/.498 over two levels of the minors last year. And while his OBP is not high, he makes up for it with his average and slugging. A walk might be as good as a hit, but only if that hit is a single.
Andujar hit 36 doubles last year; had he spent his entire season at Scranton, he would have led this playoff team by seven.
He’s also a rightie, so it makes sense that switch-hitting Aaron Hicks would bat left after Yo Soy, followed by Miguel, leaving leftie Gardner at the bottom of the order, followed by rightie Torres back at the top.
And it is really the bottom of the order that holds the key to the season. When 2-3-4 in the line-up are all counted on to produce 100 RBI’s, they will need more than just the person batting in the number one spot to be on base.
That’s the dream, though; waking reality might not be so simple. Again, without knowing if any players will be brought in, here are the internal replacements and role players likely to make the difference between a division title and maybe staying home.