New York Yankees: What a Shortened Season Means for Bench Players
Out of all the players mentioned, Miguel Andujar seems to be the most interesting one.
After coming up short of winning the American League Rookie of the Year vote in 2018, Andujar was unable to prove just how good he was, as a shoulder injury ultimately forced him into going under the knife, missing the whole entire 2019 season.
With the emergence of Gio Urshela last season, it would not have been shocking to see Andujar start this season as a bench player or even platoon with Urshela at third. The Yankees are very high on Urshela, as the team had Andujar get some reps in the outfield, with a position change not out of the realm of possibilities.
In a video that surfaced back in December, it seemed Andujar was feeling good and looking good with a bat in his hand.
The main focus of Andujar this year was to just get readjusted to the major league level. Sitting out for an entire season means that there will certainly be a learning curve like we see in most players in their second season. Teams rely on analytics to do such a tremendous job at compiling scouting reports that it is rather difficult to dominate in this league.
And while there are many players that can overcome the odds and continue to shock the baseball world, there are many players that are unable to do it, too.
But in a shortened season, the ability for Boone to play a player that may struggle early on to kick off the rust is no longer a viable option with wins becoming more crucial than ever.
We all know the talent that Andujar possesses, but is it worth the risk of losing some games if Andujar struggles to come up with a big hit, or makes a timely error in the field, with fielding being a facet of his game that needed to improve from his rookie campaign?
The answer is no.
Who knows? Maybe Andujar will get right back to the form we saw in his rookie season without any issues. And while that seems very unlikely in a sport where a great player comes through one in every three at-bats, we can expect a slow start before he gets back in the swing of things (no pun intended).
The simulation has him playing rather well with 11 home runs, 30 RBI and a .270 batting average in 53 games, but I just do not see this as a reflection of the situation at hand.
If Andujar has a great season this year or struggles, it truly does not matter because a sample size of 60 games — with him playing probably no more than 30 — does not dictate the type of player he is, or the type of player he will be.