Miguel Andújar has the Sisyphean task of displacing Gio Urshela as starting third baseman for the Yankees. That task is eight-fold if he wants to displace Clint Frazier in left field. So is there roster space for Miggy?
Well…it doesn’t look great. Let’s take a deeper look at Andújar’s career trends and the crowded field vying for the choice few bench spots on the active roster.
Bring Your Bat to Work Day!
Andújar has struggled ever since his rookie campaign, where he finished runner-up to Shohei Ohtani for ROY. While much his issues are due to shoulder surgery and complications, Miggy just hasn’t been the same hitter.
Logging 114 plate appearances in his past two injury and pandemic shortened seasons, Andjúar split time between 3B and DH, later dabbling as a LF in Aaron Boone‘s philosophy of bat before glove for his roster space. But those PAs have amounted to a combined 48 OPS+, 28 total bases, a hard-hit percentage of ~35%, and 1 HR.
That’s not really bringing your bat to work.
You Mentioned A Glove…Elaborate?
He owns at least one, right? Should probably have two or three, though, as we know Aaron Boone intends to get Miggy more reps in the outfield.
No matter what, there are a scant few 3Bs in the world better defensively than Gio Urshela. And if numbers never lie, there are scant few 3Bs in the majors worse than Miguel Andújar.
His fielding percentage since his rookie season? Around .750, with 7 errors in 17 games as a position player, including LF. All of that combines to a Rdrs (defensive runs saved above average) of very, very bad.
Along with the eye test, a simple gander at his Baseball Reference page for any stat-head further proves his lack of worth as a defender.
Well, Who Else Is There on the Roster?
While Tyler has been maligned previously for having a great glove, but no pop, he started to come alive as a hitter in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He’s also got that intangible you can’t teach and need as part of your roster space in the regular and postseason: speed.
Thairo Estrada has filled in at 3 of 4 IF positions over these past two seasons. He provides a marginally safer glove around the field, but his bat declined heavily in 2020. It’s hard to say what his best position is at this point, but that may be his best asset.
Aside from Tyler and Thairo, there’s a plethora capable OF/INF hands on the Yankees roster, including the Spring Training invitees Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich, not to mention the well-established Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman.
Let’s Face The Facts
It’s hard to see Miggy making it onto the Opening Day roster this season.
The Yankees coaching staff knows what Miguel Andújar is capable. They know he really hasn’t had a chance to truly return since his major shoulder injury. The problem is the reps he could get are be best served going somewhere else unless the catastrophic occurs with Urshela.
And sadly the less he plays, the less the Yankees are likely to get any reasonable sort of return if they try create a trade package including Andújar.
As someone who was ready to get Miggy with it in 2019, and all over again in 2020, I just think I’ve about lost hope for him as a New York Yankee going forward.
Best be pushing that boulder up another MLB team’s hill, Miguel.