Yankees: Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar favorites to win infield spots
When Yankees Spring Training officially opens for position players on February 19, the battles for position supremacy begin.
This season, one of the best battles to watch in Yankees camp will be in the infield, as a pair of top-rated rookies tests their preparedness for the big leagues.
Fans a-plenty are eager to see Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar play significant roles for the Yanks this season.
Torres and Andujar will be vying against Tyler Wade, Jace Peterson, Danny Espinosa, Thairo Estrada and Ronald Torreyes for the Opening Day nod at third base and second base, respectively.
According to general manager Brian Cashman, in numerous interviews over the offseason, the Yankees could head into the season with two rookies cracking their potent lineup. As such, Torres and Andujar are the favorites heading into Spring Training.
Before a season-ending injury in June — the 21-year-old Torres hit .287 with seven home runs and 34 RBI in 55 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He also showed some much-needed versatility, playing shortstop, second base and third base along the way.
Manager Aaron Boone said that there are no restrictions on Torres and added that he would use him at shortstop, second base and third base this spring to see which gives the Yankees the best opportunity to use Torres’ immense talent.
Torres has said he’s fine wherever he ends up — he’s just anxious to play and stay healthy. By the end of camp, if the Yanks are a better team with him in the lineup, Torres will find himself in Toronto on Opening Day.
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As for Miguel Andujar, he had a stellar campaign in 2017, posting a .315/.352/.498 slash line in 125 games between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
According to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, Andujar’s glove is starting to catch up with his bat. In September, Kuty spoke with both Joe Espada and Joe Girardi about Andujar’s potential on defense and both had confidence that the young third baseman had come a long way in improving his defense at Triple-A.
More recently, new manager Aaron Boone said this of Andujar:
"“There’s no question in my mind that he’s going to hit and hit for a long time in this league. And there’s no question in my mind that defensively he’ll be really good at some point.”"
Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News quotes a scout as saying:
"I think he can be really special. He projects as an eventual middle-of-the-order bat with power. He’s got incredible wrists, hits to all fields and doesn’t strike out a lot. His defense isn’t terrible, but it’s inconsistent. He’s got a great arm."
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Yankee fans are eager to see what these rookies can offer to a young core that already includes Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and the recently acquired, Giancarlo Stanton.
Torres and Andujar are certain to play significant roles in the 2018 season.