Yankees: Happy 23rd birthday, Miguel Andujar

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Greg Bird
TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Greg Bird /

Today, the red-hot third baseman for the Yankees, Miguel Andujar, turns 23. Happy birthday to him!

Unless you live under a rock or put no stock in Spring Training, it is known what Yankees rookie Miguel Andujar has done in this very young practice season. On Wednesday, he SMASHED two home runs on the first pitch of each at-bat. Pretty electrifying!

Overall, in just 14 plate appearances, Andujar has six hits, including four home runs and is wowing fans and teammates alike with a .429 batting average.

This pulse-pounding performance is reminiscent of his very brief stint in the Bronx last year when in seven plate appearances, Andy had a .571 average and 4 RBI.

Andujar’s debut was on June 28 against the White Sox in which he went 3-for-4, with 4 RBI and a walk. His performance broke the Yankees’ record for RBI in a debut game. Not bad for the then 22- year-old.

Miguel was acquired as an international free agent in July 2011. The native of the Dominican Republic began his professional career in 2012 with the Gulf Coast Yankees.

He steadily rose through the Yankees’ organization, playing for the Gulf Coast Yankees, Low-A Charleston River Dogs, High-A Tampa Yankees and in 2016, was promoted to the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

While with the Thunder, Andy was named to the MiLB.com Organization All-Star team — recapturing this honor in 2017. He also played in the ’16 Arizona Fall League where he made the Scottsdale AFL All-Prospect Team.

Last season, Andujar split time between the Thunder before being promoted to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Between the two teams, Andujar slashed .315/.352/.498 with 16 home runs and 82 RBI in 125 games. It’s easy to understand his rapid progression and overall excitement about the No. 4 overall ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

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Per the NY Daily News, Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone said yesterday of Andujar’s two home run performance:

"“He’s special from the bat speed standpoint. He knows where the barrel is, walks up there with a lot of confidence. It’s good to see him continue to swing it.”"

As we know, the Yankees have an opportunity for a third baseman since the trade of Chase Headley. Andujar was even mentioned as early as last year as a possible call-up following his brilliant debut.

However, the news wasn’t so encouraging about the young prospect’s development on the defensive side of his game.

Stats bear this out, as in six minor league seasons at third base, Andujar’s fielding percentage is only .917 with 120 errors committed in 4916 2/3 innings played.

Also confusing the situation was the late February acquisition of Brandon Drury, who’s played more second base during his short career but has manned third base along with left and right field. This could be construed as a message to Miguel — or not.

When questioned about it, Andujar told NJ.com:

"“We’ve got to welcome him here in the clubhouse. I’ve got to keep working hard. The addition of another player, another teammate doesn’t change my plans.”"

Sounds pretty confident. Keep working, Miguel.

It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. Will Andujar be able to convince the powers that be in the Yankees’ organization to allow him to begin the 2018 season in the Bronx? Will his scorching hot bat wow them enough to overlook a developing glove?

Remember a certain shortstop named Derek was in the same situation as a rookie and was able to overcome his early defensive struggles to capture AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Another factor to consider is the offensive potential of this team. The thought process regarding the starting third baseman might include what miscues could be overcome with a high producing run machine.

It’s very early in Spring Training, and it’s going to be fun to watch this youngster in what he doesn’t seem to consider to be a competition with Drury. Keep working, Miguel. Work hard.

Next: Ellsbury will get time in left field

And your work ethic will reward you with many more birthdays while wearing a professional baseball uniform. Hopefully, they will all be in Pinstripes.