Now, before taking a look at the downside of Miguel Andujar’s 2018 campaign with the Yankees, let’s just clarify how impressive of a season the 23-year-old is having.
In 319 at-bats, Andujar has posted a .489 slugging percentage, mostly thanks to the whopping 27 doubles he’s hit this year. There’s no denying that when he swings at pitches in the zone, he is an elite MLB hitter. However, with just a .319 OBP, it’s clear he needs to improve on working counts to earn more walks than his mere 16 he’s had this season.
If Andujar can post an OBP closer to the .340-.360 range, then his upside will be even greater. But for now, the young infielder still remains highly vulnerable to breaking balls down and off the plate. Unfortunately, that isn’t even the only issue with Andujar, at least when you analyze the defensive side of his game.
In 79 games at 3rd base, Andujar has -12 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), while posting a poor Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -6.8. Although the numbers certainly aren’t great, manager Aaron Boone spoke highly of his third baseman when asked about his defense.
“He continues to get better at it. He’s proving that he’s a major league defensive third baseman as well as just, he’s not just there because he’s hitting. I think there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and I think you’ll see him continue to get better over there.”
Regardless if Andujar improves defensively or not, it may not change the likelihood of Manny Machado donning the hot corner in pinstripes, whether it’s via trade or free agency. Over the past week, the Yankees have been strongly connected in trade talks with the Orioles, with negotiations going as far there reportedly being a “strong offer” from New York for the 26-year-old.
If a deal does in-fact get done, then Andujar’s future with the club could be dwindling.
Assuming Machado would take over 3rd base, Miguel would likely be dealt for a starting pitcher or even sent back down to Triple-A. Nonetheless, whether it’s with the Yankees or another club, Miguel Andujar will have to improve on his defense to help him eventually reach the status of becoming an elite Major League 3rd baseman. And with solid arm strength, he certainly has the potential.