Yankees: Miguel Andujar’s Hot Start Could Take Playing Time Away From Others
By Jerry Trotta
New York Yankees young slugger Miguel Andujar is off to a hot start at Spring Training 2.0.
New York Yankees slugger Miguel Andujar missed the majority of 2019 after injuring his shoulder shoulder early on in the season, and he ultimately lost his job as the everyday third baseman to breakout star Gio Urshela. This prompted both analysts and fans to begin speculating if the club would be better off unloading Andujar to address other areas of need on the roster.
However, the 25-year-old stud has been reminding everybody why the Yankees were smart to keep him and why they are doing everything possible to get his bat in the lineup on a regular basis this upcoming season.
Check out Andujar jack an opposite field home run off new ace Gerrit Cole during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday night.
For those wondering, this was the only hit that Cole conceded. While Andujar’s hot start is making it easy for manager Aaron Boone to decide whether to play him, it does create a bit of a log jam for other players looking to break into the team.
Throughout camp, New York has been testing the former third baseman in left field — where Brett Gardner is projected to start most games — as well as first base, which is expected to be held down by Luke Voit. When you consider that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge could rotate as designated hitters, making Andujar as versatile as possible around the diamond makes sense, and, to his credit, he’s looked reasonably well at both positions thus far.
Unfortunately for the Pinstripes, this creates an less-than-ideal amount of uncertainty regarding the playing time of guys like Gardner, Voit, Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier and Mike Ford, all of whom deserve their fair share of reps. Gardy career-highs in home runs (28), RBI (74) and OPS (.829) last campaign, while Tauchman registered an .895 OPS in 87 games, and hit .325/.403/.584 in the final two months of the season.
Andujar, meanwhile, is just a year removed from hitting .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. He also finished second in the American League with 47 doubles. The general consensus in the sports world is that this is a good problem for managers to have, but this situation could cause some friction given the success other guys had last season.